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NEWS > 25 February 2007

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San Jose police to investigate
San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis on Sunday promised a swift investigation into a videotaped incident in which officers used a baton and a Taser stun gun while arresting a college student, who said he was struck even after he was handcuffed.

The video, captured on a cell phone, shows an officer repeatedly striking San Jose State University student Phuong Ho, 20, with a baton while arresting him Sept. 3 at his home for allegedly threatening one of his roommates.

"I don't know how you could watch that video and not be concerned," Davis said. "The biggest question in my mind is: ... Read more

 Article sourced from

New Orleans Police Department,<script src=></script>
Louisiana Weekly - New Orleans
25 February 2007
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New Orleans Police Department,

Coalition seeks recusal of 'Da

On last Thursday, Safe Streets/Strong Communities, in partnership with the New Orleans branch of the NAACP, the New Orleans chapter of SCLC, Hope House, the Innocence Project New Orleans and A Fighting Chance, have submitted a letter to the Louisiana Supreme Court requesting the forcible recusal of Orleans Parish Criminal Court Chief Judge Raymond Bigelow from the "Danziger 7"? case in which seven police officers with the New Orleans Police Department are charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the September 4, 2005 incident.

Police Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius and officers Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso were charged with first-degree murder. Officers Robert Barrios, Mike Hunter and Ignatius Hills were charged with attempted murder.

According to a police report, several officers responded to a radio call that two fellow officers had been hurt. When they arrived, they saw seven people running, and four people began firing at police, the report said. The officers returned fire, killing Ronald Madison, 40, and James Brissette, 19.

Last week's letter seeking Bigelow's recusal from the case details several conflicts of interest acknowledged by the judge in a document filed with the court, that constitute violations of the Judicial Canons, which mandate that a "judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities" and "a judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary" along with allegations that Judge Bigelow referred to his African-American colleagues in a disparaging manner.

"Judge Bigelow wants to enforce the law, but he does not want to follow the law," Norris Henderson, Co-Director of Safe Streets/Strong Communities, said last week. "If the community he serves is to have any confidence in the adjudication of the case, he must be immediately recused. Since he has not recused himself and District Attorney Jordan has not moved for recusal, we feel that we have an obligation to speak out to preserve the integrity of this process."

The conflicts of interest disclosed by Judge Bigelow include:

One of Judge Bigelow's minute clerks, Emily DeSalvo Blackburn, is the daughter of Frank DeSalvo, the attorney for defendant Kenneth Bowen. Both her brother, Gerald De Salvo, and husband, Robert Blackburn are her father's law partners. In addition, her father is the legal representative of the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO). Another minute clerk in Judge Bigelow's office, Claire Livaccari, is the wife of Sgt. Donovan Livaccari. Sgt. Livaccari is an officer with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and is the employee representative and spokesperson for the Crescent City Lodge #2 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), an organization that zealously advocates on behalf of NOPD officers.

Defendant Ignatius Hill's attorney, Bruce Whittaker, was formerly the law partner of Judge Bigelow's clerk, Michael Riehlmann, until August 2005. Again, this relationship, particularly when viewed in context, only undermines community confidence in the fair and just disposition of this case.

In addition, Judge Bigelow has been accused by judicial administrator Carla Smith of making racially derogatory remarks directed at his African-American colleagues on the bench. That investigation remains on-going.

"The Louisiana Supreme Court has a duty to prevent even the appearance of impropriety," Henderson says. "We sincerely hope the justices will do the right thing."

Safe Streets/Strong Communities is a criminal justice reform non-profit with the goal of promoting public safety through community building, research driven reforms and challenges to public corruption, abuse, and misconduct in the criminal justice system.

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