NEW ORLEANS,(WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department’s top cop wants the public to know the truth about a viral video that had some crying foul.
It seems to show an altercation between officers and a brass band, but the superintendent says it’s not as bad as some are making it out to be.
More than a week after the incident occurred, Supt. Shaun Ferguson called a meeting with the media in what he called an effort to "protect the culture of our city."
And he says he would have done it sooner had Barry not set them back. The whole thing revolves around what happened in these videos.
It was taken near Frenchman and Chartres, the evening of July 8. Police said someone called complaining this brass band was playing too loudly, blocking a store entrance and claimed band members were making threats.
Two officers responded and the band moves to the other side of the street, but after the officers made the block, they found the band had returned to their previous spot.
Ferguson said that is when the officers decided to issue band members summons. Musician Eugene Grant approached one of the officers who put out his arm to halt him. He raised his arms and trumpet. Ferguson said the officer’s camera cracked when he took Grant down, but that he didn’t tackle him.
He says Grant stiffened his arms so he could not be cuffed. Though one of the officers pulled out a taser, it wasn’t used. Grant gave up after a chat with a bystander and back up arrived soon after.
Ferguson revealed Grant had special needs and when the officer raised him arm to create distance became upset for being touched. The superintendent said he believes the officers were justified in their actions and have since met with grant and his mother who left with smiles.
There was a use of force investigation but the NOPD Public Integrity Bureau will not follow up because no complaints were filed. Grant was arrested and charged with obstruction of public passage & resisting arrest but charges were dropped the following day.
Feruson released the following statement: “We hope these recent exchanges will provide a way forward in NOPD’s relationship with music and culture leaders based on a mutual understanding that while BIOD will always celebrate our city’s musical heritage, we will also continue to respond accordingly to calls for service received and complaints made by our residents, visitors and business owners.”