Confused and angry, 18-year-old Michael Martin says the justice system failed him. It all stems from one April afternoon at a New Orleans East gas station, where he says a man threatened him by pulling out not one gun, but two, all while Martin was unarmed. Devyn Swanier, the man who pulled the weapons, wasn't just any man. His sweat pants at the time identified him as a New Orleans police officer.
"I can see down his pants leg…NOPD going down, and I said, 'Oh, my god, you're a police officer?'"
FOX 8 and our investigative partners at The Lens
obtained the exclusive surveillance video that shows the two men getting into a verbal argument after Martin's female friend apparently knocked into the officer's 3-year-old goddaughter inside the gas station store.
"That really had nothing to do with me," Martin now tells FOX 8.
The young girl was even sitting in the officer's car when Swanier decided to pull out the weapons.
"From the time I came out of the store, I felt like he was going to shoot me," Martin said.
The NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau soon investigated and then sent Martin's family a letter, saying, "the allegations made by you were supported by sufficient evidence."
But a tearful Swanier stepped down from the force before the NOPD could take disciplinary action.
"This resignation is voluntary and for my own free will," Swanier said during the taped police interview.
As for criminal charges, it was then up to the district attorney's office to try the former cop for aggravated battery, but the district attorney dropped the case.
"I don't think it's fair at all," Martin told FOX 8. "If you watch the video close, sir, I really was scared for my life."
But that's where the district attorney's office disagrees, pointing to the end of the surveillance video, where Martin doesn't appear to back down from the gun-toting officer. There's no audio on the tape, but it seems Martin even yelled at the officer until Swanier eventually drives off.
To prove aggravated battery, the district attorney's office says it must either show that battery was attempted—in this particular case, however, physical force wasn't involved –or, the district attorney's office says it must prove that the victim had reasonable fear battery would be attempted.
"I was afraid," Martin said. "I may not have shown any actions of being afraid on-camera, but I was afraid, sir. If anybody got two guns on you, I think anybody be afraid— police officer or not."
Even so, the district attorney's office still defends its decision.
"The kid can now say he's scared in a FOX 8 interview, but we have to prove it with the evidence we have, and the evidence we have is that he was not in reasonable apprehension of receiving aggravated battery," said Chris Bowman, Assistant District Attorney and spokesperson for the office. "And it's displayed in the [surveillance] video."
Hours after the gas station incident, both men were questioned by investigators with the NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau, and during those taped interviews, Martin says he was afraid.
"I was scared," he said.
But later, he explained he wasn't.
"I didn't feel no, no immediate harm after I seen the NOPD on his pants."
Martin then finally clarified that he became less frightened and