NEW ORLEANS -- Supt. Ronal Serpas took the blame Wednesday after it took two days for the NOPDto publicly disclose that a police officer shot a suspect in the head after a struggle early Monday morning following a traffic stop.
Armand Bennett, 26, was shot by a New Orleans police officer early Monday, but the NOPD never mentioned the officer-involved shooting in its daily roundup of major police items.
'In this particular case it's a complete snafu on the part of my team. I take responsibility for it, I apologize for it, and I don't want it to happen again,' said Serpas.
The officer, identified as Lisa Lewis, suffered a contusion on her hand. She was treated at a hospital and released.
The attorney for Bennett, Nandi Campbell, confirmed to Eyewitness News that her client has been in the hospital since the shooting. He was recently released from the intensive care unit with staples in his forehead, Campbell said.
While the wound doesn't appear to be serious, Campbell said she is troubled that the police department did not publicly announce the police shooting, referring to it instead as a signal 108, 'officer needs assistance.'
Police said that Bennett was booked with five outstanding warrants, including Illegal Possession of a Weapon, Resisting an Officer (Gretna), Resisting an Officer (New Orleans), Possession of Marijuana and Criminal Damage to Property. He is currently in stable condition at a local hospital.
In the gist of the incident in the NOPD's major offense log released Monday, the item does not mention that an officer fired shots or left a suspect wounded.
The gist states at 1:29 a.m. in the 3700 block of Mimosa Court, 'officer was in area, heard shots fired, had altercation with subject and sustained minor injury to right hand. The officer was taken to Tulane Hospital by unit 1420.'
Campbell said that from the information she has gathered, the only shots fired were by police.
'If find it very suspect that my client is shot, but her partner calls this in as an officer needs assistance,' Campbell said. 'And even when the NOPD went out to investigate the shooting, they didn't tell the public that an officer fired shots.'
Ursula Price, of the Office of Independent Police Monitor, said her office sent a representative to the scene, but the representative did not observe any injury to the officer or that the officer was taken to the hospital.
The police monitor's office, a unit of the Office of Inspector General, said it is in the process of gathering evidence and statements as it compiles a full report on the shooting.
Serpas said his office has a record of being upfront about incidents involving officers firing a weapon.
'It is highly unusual in your own history with me in the last five years that we have not reported when an officer has been involved in an event where they've been arrested we obviously do that when they've been involved in the discharge of a weapon they obviously do that.
'What I hope is the case is that evidence is on our side that this is this is not what we normally do, that we normally put this information out right away. I approved it to be released around on noon on Monday and it simply is unacceptable to me and to you and to the public that our office failed to get the information out, and I apologize for that.'