NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department has now fired, two New Orleans police officers charged in a brutal Mid City bar beating.
The assistant DA is raising questions about the way the men were released on their own recognizance last night, before a customary court hearing.
The two officers entered municipal court through a side door to appear before a judge for the first time, the day after they were arrested for allegedly beating Jorge Gomez.
"I was trying to move, and he was like no dude, you're not going anywhere," said Gomez on Tuesday, wearing the scars of a beating.
The fired officers, Spencer Sutton and John Galman, entered not guilty pleas to misdemeanor simple battery charges, which could be upgraded later.
"We are still early on. We don't have an exact on what the injuries are. You will need reports from doctors before you increase the charges to second degree battery which requires great bodily harm," said criminal defense attorney Bobby Hjortsberg.
Jorge Gomez was rushed to the hospital where his wounds were stitched up and treatment of other injuries after the beating early Tuesday morning at the Mid City bar.
There have been a number of irregularities in this case so far. First that the officers were released last night on their own recognizance and that sparked protests from the district attorney.
Though the Assistant District Attorney said the release before any court hearing was illegal, outside court, the officers' attorney, Jake Lemmon, had this response, when we asked him, "Was there anything illegal about the R.O.R. bond?' "No there wasn't," he said.
After being released last night on a recognizance bond, the municipal court judge Wednesday set bond for the officers at $1500 each, as the D.A. reviews the case.
The officers made bond and left municipal court through the same side door in which they entered the building. Neither the NOPD nor the sheriff's office claimed knowledge of any special arrangement to get the officers in and out of the building.
Orleans D.A. Leon Cannizzaro this afternoon put out a statement saying, "Magistrate commissioner Jonathan Friedman acted improperly," adding "We found it disturbing that Friedman disregarded the violent nature of the accused officers' acts, and improperly ordered their release within an hour of their arrests."
The D.A.'s office also says the case is now being screened and the office will consider a range of options on how to proceed. We have just obtained a court document which shows officer Sutton "Had no specific memory of the circumstances" leading up to the beating.
We reached out to commissioner Friedman for comment on the D.A.'s statement, but haven't heard back.