Two off-duty New Orleans Police Department officers were arrested Tuesday after attacking and beating a Louisiana National Guardsman.
The two men, department rookies, reportedly accused the man of not being American or a veteran.
“He told me I was a fake American,” Jorge Gomez said, whose face was badly bruised and had stitches on his forehead.
“And that I wasn’t in the National Guard either. I told him I served a tour of duty in Iraq.” https://t.co/dRMJdMs74S
— VICE News (@vicenews) July 27, 2018
George Gomez, 36, was taken to the hospital and released with cuts, bruises and a swollen face – he also needed stitches in his forehead.
“He told me I was a fake American,” Gomez told VICE News. “And that I wasn’t in the National Guard either. I told him I served a tour of duty in Iraq.”
Gomez is Hispanic and was born in the United States.
An investigation by the Public Integrity Bureau determined that John Galman, 26, and Spencer Sutton, 24, initiated the incident that occurred at the Mid-City Yacht Club, according to Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, New York Daily News reported.
“Members of our department are expected to comply with the law and adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct, whether on- or off-duty,” Harrison said in a statement.
The two officers were charged with simple battery, and the NOPD has also begun a termination process. Both officers were still in the probationary period that follows graduation from the academy. They could reportedly face hate crime charges.
The two New Orleans cops accused of severely beating Jorge Gomez were arrested and terminated—and now are being investigated for possible hate crime charges. https://t.co/BN7sbORJ2V
— The Appeal (@theappeal) July 26, 2018
Gomez said that upon leaving the yacht club and heading to his vehicle, he was approached by the men, who never identified themselves as police officers.
Gomez said that one of the men asked him if he was American and when he said yes, the man got mad and said Gomez was fake.
— ImmigrantLawCenterMN (@ILCM_MN) July 25, 2018
Gomez, who was dressed in a camouflage outfit, said he was asked if he had served in the military and confirmed that he had been a member of the Louisiana National Guard, the New York Daily News reported.
He said that the officers then attacked him, and he believes it was racially motivated.
Sutton and Galman explained the event differently.
They said that Gomez trailed them in his vehicle before threatening them.
The officers claimed they acted in self-defense.
“I would like them to apologize to me. They never told me they were police officers,” Gomez said.
The Mid-City Yahct Club released the following statement in support of Gomez:
“Mr. Gomez is our long-time customer and friend and we are very sickened that this has happened to him. The MCYC family is extremely concerned. We will plan a fundraiser, as long as it is with Mr Gomez blessing, to help raise money to support Mr. Gomez during this difficult time.”