COVINGTON, La. - The mayor of Covington says he is personally looking into a police investigation that led to the arrest of two city police officers Monday.
The officers were arrested and charged with simple battery and malfeasance in office in connection with an alleged use of excessive force on a person who had been arrested. They are former Officer Anthony Adams, who resigned when the investigation began and was a four-year veteran on the force; and Officer Nicholas Harper, who remains with the department but on unpaid leave.
The alleged incident occurred in November 2012. A police spokesman said the department became aware of the incident in January.
Police Chief Richard Palmisano said the incident happened inside of the police station while a suspected shoplifter was in handcuffs.
"I am very sad that this occurred in this office and that these officers did not do what they were supposed to do, and what they were hired to do, and that is to uphold the law. But at the same time, I am pleased with the fact that our procedures are effective and do work," he said.
Mayor Mike Cooper said while he does believe the situation was handled in the appropriate manner, he is incensed that it has happened while the city is still under the shadow of another excessive force incident from Mardi Gras 2011.
“I sent a message a year ago to the police department that this type of activity would not be tolerated and I'm totally disappointed,” he said, “I just want to make it clear that the fact that this incident happened is totally, totally unacceptable and further incidents like this will not be tolerated."
The police chief says the message is crystal clear to both his officers and the community.
"We all take an oath of office to uphold the law and not violate the law and if a violation occurs, we are not going to allow that to occur, not within this department," said Palmisano.
Both men posted $7,500 bonds Monday afternoon to get out of jail.