Exclusive video: Off-duty NOPD cop pulls out 2 guns during dispute
July 20, 2011 at 11:58 PM CDT - Updated August 22 at 5:51 AM
Two guns, two men, but only one of them was armed. It all made for an unusual April afternoon in New Orleans East that left one New Orleans Police officer without a job. Now FOX 8 has obtained never before released video and audio tapes that raise even more questions concerning the district attorney's office, an NOPD officer, and a 3-year-old girl.
The controversy begins on April 8 with a man purchasing gummie bears at the Chevron gas station along Crowder Boulevard near Interstate-10. Devon Swanier, 24, was buying them for his 3-year-old goddaughter. Minutes later in the parking lot, however, it wasn't candy in his hands, but instead two guns.
FOX 8 and our investigative partners at The Lens, obtained the exclusive surveillance video which shows Swanier pulling out the weapons after getting into a verbal argument with 18-year-old Michael Martin—who was 17 at the time of the incident.
In a taped police interview, Martin told NOPD Public Integrity Bureau (PIB) investigators what happened when he saw the guns.
"I was telling him, 'Alright, you got that,' and I backed up," Martin said. "And [Swanier] said, 'I make it to the point where nobody can't walk around here.'
This was no run of the mill altercation. It turns out the man toting the guns, Swanier, was an NOPD officer who just graduated from the police force 7 months prior—his sweat pants even bore the department's name.
"I looked down, he got NOPD on his pants," Martin told investigators. "I'm like, 'So what, you're going to shoot me in a gas station?' He said, 'It don't got nothing to do with that.' I said, 'You're police.' He said, 'That don't mean nothing.'
Swanier, who was off-duty while at the gas station, was eventually grilled by detectives. During his interview, he told investigators Martin's female friend ran into his young goddaughter while on her way out of the gas station.
NOPD Detectives with the PIB, however, had serious questions over why Swanier thought the solution involved pulling out his own personal gun and then his NOPD issued pistol from the trunk, even though the teenager he was arguing with was unarmed.
NOPD Public Integrity Bureau Investigator: I don't see why you got a gun, okay, and he don't have none. Did he get any type of weapon?
Devyn Swanier: I mean like I said...
NOPD Public Integrity Bureau Investigator: Just answer yes or no. Did he get any type of weapon?
Devyn Swanier: No, sir.
NOPD Public Integrity Bureau Investigator: Okay. So why you introduce the weapon?
Devyn Swanier: (inaudible)
NOPD Public Integrity Bureau Investigator: You understand? What you're telling me is you don't understand the use of force continuum.