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Man shot in head during traffic stop Monday; NOPD never publicly disclosed shooting

A man was shot in the head Monday during a traffic stop in Algiers, sending him to the hospital for the past two days with a serious but not life-threatening injury, the man's attorney said Wednesday. The shooting was never publicly disclosed by New Orleans police.

In response to this article, NOPD issued a written statement saying Armand Bennett, 26, "was shot" during the traffic stop, and an officer, unnamed by the department, suffered a minor contusion on the right hand.

...

Details about what prompted the confrontation remain scarce. NOPD on Monday said only that an officer was wounded on the job, in what the department described as an "officer needs assistance" call, in which an officer's life was in danger. The department, despite receiving requests for information and records, did not disclose that anyone was shot.

"Officer needs assistance" is a pretty hot code on a police radio. The only thing hotter is "officer down." It indicates that backup is needed immediately in a life-threatening situation. Pretty serious stuff.

And yet, until the Times-Picayune was contacted by the wounded man's lawyer for comment, the only public record of this serious encounter was a log entry which summarized:

Officer was in area, heard shots fried,,had altercation with subject and sustained minor injury to right hand. The officer was taken to Tulane Hospital by unit 1420.
Not a word about an NOPD officer discharging a weapon and wounding a suspect. Like it was never going to come up.

This is pretty bad for the NOPD. Any time a bullet leaves an officer's weapon a detailed incident report must be filed. There's also the question of where is the footage from the officer's personal camera.

So far, the NOPD's only response has been to note that the suspect was wanted on outstanding warrants for marijuana possession, property damage and resisting an officer. The Department has issued a written statement apologizing for not reporting the shooting, but not released the officer's name or any camera footage. Chief Ronal Serpas explained to the press that the report of the shooting "just fell through the cracks."

Also unexplained was how an officer in a life-threatening situation responding with deadly force turned out to have a minor injury on the hand.

This one's not going to go away with an "Aw shucks, my bad" from Serpas. Stay tuned.

Originally posted to Crashing Vor on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Police Accountability Group.

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