By Michael Hernandez
Two fired rookie New Orleans police officers are facing a civil rights investigation in connection with the beating of a Latino man, the New Orleans Police Department confirmed to Anadolu Agency Friday.
John Galmon, 26, and Spencer Sutton, 24, had not yet completed their probationary period when they allegedly beat up Jorge Gomez, 39, outside a New Orleans bar early Tuesday after launching a racist tirade against Gomez, who says he is a U.S. military veteran.
His face badly beaten and with only one eye open, Gomez told reporters the two men told him he “was a fake American,” belligerently asking him about his choice of camouflage clothing and questioning him over his nationality.
“And that I wasn’t in the National Guard either. I told him I served a tour of duty in Iraq,” he said, recalling they also told him: “You’re going to die.”
“I did not do anything to defend myself,” he said.
Galmon and Sutton have been charged with battery after the incident. The men have pled not guilty.
But the incident is under further investigation by the Greater New Orleans Civil Rights Task Force in conjunction with the FBI, who are jointly seeking to determine whether “this case meets the elements of a potential civil rights violation,” the New Orleans Police Department told Anadolu Agency in an emailed statement.
Hate crimes against minorities have skyrocketed since the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a black advocacy group, said in June that it believes there is a direct correlation between the spike and Trump’s election.
“From campaign to election, this president has spewed the language of division and hate, and it has manifested in not only racist policies but in racist acts against people of color and other groups,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
The group cited a May study from California State University, Santa Barbara, that found reported hate crimes in the U.S.’s 10 largest cities rose to their highest levels in a decade, jumping over 12 percent in 2017.