French Quarter incident draws intense scrutiny

A still image from the surveillance video
A still image from the surveillance video

The city's police monitor is now looking into an alleged abuse case in the French Quarter caught on video.

The mothers of two boys roughed up by a group of plainclothes state troopers and a NOPD officer say their boys were racially profiled.

It happened Sunday a week ago, in the 700 block of Conti, as two Northshore High students, one 17, the other 18, stood by a building waiting for one of their mothers -- a New Orleans police officer who went to get them dinner.

The boys were approached by a group of nine plainclothes officers -- eight state police, one NOPD.  Three officers temporarily apprehended one boy and three others went to the other teen, who was thrown to the ground in the scuffle.

The incident basically ended when the boy's mother, NOPD officer Verna Hunt, emerged and questioned the other officers about what was going on. State police say she interfered with their investigation, and then moved on.

Now Hunt and the other boy's mother are talking with the FBI, which is considering a full investigation. Police monitor Susan Hutson is also looking into the incident.  And there is  a petition drive, asking the City Council to investigate.

"It's only two kids standing on the corner. Take the right approach. Everyone is not dealing drugs, every black kid on the street," said Hazel Newman, the mother of the 17-year-old boy.

One boy got a scratch, the other got his hair pulled, but neither was seriously hurt.

State Police say their investigation is ongoing, and say the results will be released to the public when it's concluded.