State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson told reporters Wednesday (July 30) his troopers were justified in using force to bring a musician to the ground and handcuff him during a 9th Ward traffic stop last week, though he called the roughness "unfortunate."The "situation at hand" was they were looking for a suspect who had just escaped custody. So they randomly stopped anyone who happened to be in the area and threatened him with "I'm going to blow your head off."
Shamarr Allen, 33, a trumpeter who leads a well-known band, Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs, claimed in an interview with WWL-TV that troopers unnecessarily pushed him, kicked him and threatened him with their guns drawn. He said he was trying to comply with troopers' demands.
"You move one time, I'm going to blow your head off," Allen recalled hearing a cop tell him in the WWL interview. "In my head I'm like, 'Maybe this is how it's going to end for me.'"
But Col. Edmonson said at a Wednesday news conference in the French Quarter that after reviewing video of the incident and a police report, he concluded the troopers used reasonable force for the situation at hand.
Somewhere Norman Robinson is smiling.
It's also worth remembering that the troopers are pretty much just doing what they were hired to do. We understood their history when they arrived.
The incident is not the first allegation of racial bias involving State Police troopers in New Orleans. During Mardi Gras 2013, several white plainclothes State Police troopers tackled two young black teens to the ground in the French Quarter, detaining them until one of their mothers, who was an NOPD officer, intervened.Anyway, if you're driving around out there tonight, it's a good idea to be aware the Serpas Signal is up. Hopefully no one tries to blow your head off.
The New Orleans Police Department’s Traffic Division will conduct a sobriety checkpoint, in Orleans Parish, on Thursday July 31, 2014, beginning at approximately 9:00 P.M. and will conclude at approximately 5:00 A.M. Motorists will experience minimal delays and should have the proper documentation available if requested, i.e., proof of insurance, driver’s license, etc.