Louisiana officials are defending the actions of a state trooper who was caught on camera body-slamming a tourist from Illinois.
According to CBS Channel 4, State Police Col. Mike Edmondson said on Tuesday that the officer’s actions were justified in the confrontation, which took place in the early hours of Saturday morning in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
“It’s easy to take a tape and pick it apart, but my troopers are dealing with a lot of people who are intoxicated and a lot of unknowns,” Edmondson told The Advocate. “Unless you’re in the heat of the moment, you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know who these individuals are, where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing.”
Cell phone video shows 39-year-old Michael Hoffman getting violently slammed to the ground by an unidentified trooper. Trooper Melissa Matey told reporters that the officer was acting within his duties after getting called to a club in the 200 block of Bourbon Street to help eject an intoxicated patron.
“He was trying to get Mr. Hoffman to leave that area,” said Matey, a Troop B spokeswoman. “Mr. Hoffman refused to do so on many occasions and you see the trooper affect the arrest.”
Hoffman, she said, was resisting arrest by “refusing to show his hands or give his hands to the trooper as the trooper was trying to handcuff him.”
“We want people to understand if you listen to our commands and you work with us, then nothing bad is going to happen at that point,” Matey said. “We want people to follow our instructions. That’s the way we keep people safe.”
Witnesses said that confrontation between the trooper and Hoffman, who was visiting New Orleans from Illinois, escalated quickly.
Joshua Plauche — who shot the video of the arrest — said that wondered why the trooper didn’t call for backup before violently taking down Hoffman.
“I agreed with the officer up until the push and the slam,” Plauche said. “He let an emotional decision change his code of ethics.”
Plauche posted the video to his Facebook page, where it has received more than half a million views.
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