State police troopers believe that dash cam video released Tuesday proves they did nothing wrong when they pulled over musician Shamarr Allen July 23, but Allen maintains he was mistreated.
State troopers were in the 5600 block of Chartres that night looking for an alleged drug dealer who had escaped from police after his arrest at the Eighth District station and was believed to be hiding out in the Ninth Ward.
Allen told FOX 8 he had just finished a gig and was dropping off a friend when he saw the police activity. The dash cam video shows Allen pulling up to the scene, and then backing up and eventually turning around.
"That draws our attention to him and we chase him," said State Police Col. Mike Edmonson. "We chase him down to a dark area and stop the car."
The video shows troopers rushing up to Allen's car, one of them with a gun drawn. Allen said he was handcuffed and then tripped and slammed to the ground.
"So, like, my elbow, my shoulder, my knee - all of that is all scraped up," Allen said. "So one officer steps on my face, and another one's got his knee in my back."
Edmonson said after reviewing the video, his officers acted appropriately.
"You make a stop, and keep in mind it's 4 o'clock in the morning," Edmonson said. "It's a dark area. When you ask an individual that we're looking for at that particular time, an escapee, we do not know if that person is armed."
Allen claims the troopers searched his car and even went through his cell phone as they investigated. He said he cooperated with the troopers, but Edmonson disagrees.
"We ask them immediately when we approach the car to put both hands out, because when both your hands are out, you don't have any means if there's a gun to show that," Edmonson said. "He would not do that. He was not cooperative. We finally sat him down to try and talk to him.
Edmonson said as far as he's concerned, the investigation is over.
"We pulled him out of the car. There was no striking. There was no placing a foot on his neck. There was no ramming the head down. Every action that we took that particular night as I saw it was actions related to his actions and what he did."
Allen had a chance to see the video Tuesday afternoon. He said he still strongly believes he was mistreated on the scene.
"There's the gun in my face," Allen said as he watched the video. "There's my arm, which is exactly what I've been saying, and there is them pulling me out the car. Why are they pulling me out the car in the first place if this is just a random traffic stop and I haven't done anything wrong? And I pulled over when they wanted me to pull over. I didn't resist. I didn't do anything."
"They're searching the car," he continues. "I didn't give them consent to search the car. They're searching my trumpet. One of them grabs my cell phones out the car. He has both of my cell phones. So, they make me unlock the cell phones. What I wanted to do was show these officers' faces, because I'm pretty sure that the way that they acted - this is not their first time. I'm not the first person they did this too. But I'm the first person that actually has a voice to be able to say something."