NOPD investigates officers after questionable Bourbon Street body cam arrest surfaces

An internal investigation into five New Orleans Police officers was initiated last week after the release of a body cam video earlier this month allegedly showing some of them coordinating a story to justify the arrest of a Bourbon Street suspect in January 2019.

Last week, Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson suspended all tasks forces and launched a criminal investigation into several officers involved in the arrest of Radon Ray, who was allegedly arrested by Eighth District task force plainclothes police for gun and drug possession charges in the 400 block of Bourbon Street on Jan. 1, 2019.

In addition, reassignments of several department captains were announced at a May 22 press conference. Watch the press conference here.

The actions come after the preliminary findings of a multi-phase audit into the NOPD’s task forces by the Federal Consent Monitoring Team started in late 2019, Ferguson said, adding the findings suggested inadequate supervision among the task forces.

A body cam video of the arrest’s aftermath was obtained and published by The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate days before Ferguson’s announcement and allegedly shows Eighth District task force officers at the Royal Street station lining up their facts in Ray’s arrest.

The video was recently submitted on the record in the case of Ray, who is fighting to get his charges thrown out, the newspaper reported.

Ferguson said the “disturbing” video showing misconduct exacerbated the monitoring team’s findings and has since reassigned all four officers involved—Samuel Senter, Jordan Sherr, William Knowles and Jason Collins—have been to desk duty and are under criminal investigation.

In addition, retired Sgt. Mark Mumme, the officers’ task force supervisor, has been suspended from his reserve officer position and is also under investigation.

“I think the public should be just as troubled as I am,” Ferguson said. “I do not believe in no way shape or form there is a systematic problem with our department.”

Ferguson said it’s important that the NOPD be proactive and transparent regarding the video.

“Our department has come too far since the onset of the consent decree to do anything less,” Ferguson said.

The monitoring team’s report and findings will be released to the public in the coming weeks, Ferguson said.

Capt. Anthony Caprera promoted to lead NOPD 8th District; ex-station chief demoted

A New Orleans Police lieutenant with the 8th District was promoted to the rank of captain on Friday and will now lead the station as its new commander.

Capt. Anthony Caprera (pictured left), who is now in charge of the 8th District, was promoted from lieutenant during a private ceremony in Superintendent Shaun Ferguson’s office on Friday, according to New Orleans Police.

Additionally, Capt. Preston Bax, formerly a lieutenant and assistant commander with New Orleans Police’s 4th District, was promoted to captain and commander of the 6th District during the same ceremony.

The ceremonies were held separately and in private in order to practice social/physical distancing measures to stop coronavirus spread, the New Orleans Police said.

NOPD 8th District officer dies after battle with coronavirus

Caprera takes on responsibility for the district, which includes the French Quarter, the Central Business District and parts, other parts of downtown and a portion of the Marigny.

Caprera replaced his former boss, Lt. Octavio Baldassaro (pictured right), who was demoted from captain following an undisclosed and ongoing internal administrative investigation conducted by the Public Integrity Bureau, New Orleans Police said.

Baldassaro was previously investigated for an excessive force incident in which he was filmed throwing a woman to the ground while arresting her for fighting during French Quarter Festival in 2019, but was later cleared of wrongdoing, according to The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.

Man ‘struck multiple times’ in police-involved shooting at Bourbon and St. Louis streets; NOPD’s use of force team investigating

New Orleans Police Department

One man is injured after he was shot by officers Saturday morning while responding a report of a person pointing a firearm at bystanders near the corner of Bourbon and St. Louis streets, according to the New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.

New Orleans Eighth District Police officers responded to the call at 7:26 a.m. when they encountered the man armed with a gun, Ferguson said.

There was an exchange of gun fire between the police and the man, who was “struck multiple times,” New Orleans Police said.

Ferguson said four officers responded and three fired their service weapons at the man, who was struck in the chest.

The man was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest, Ferguson said.

No officers were injured in the incident, he said.

New Orleans Police’s Force Investigation Team, which investigates police use of force is investigating the incident, Ferguson said, adding that the crime scene stretches from the 400 to 500 blocks of St. Louis Street.

The four officers who responded were re-assigned as part of the New Orleans Police Department’s standard protocol pending the investigation, Ferguson said.

The New Orleans Independent Police Monitor was on scene following the shooting and federal monitoring agencies were also notified, including the FBI, Ferguson added.

“[It’s an] unfortunate incident whenever our officers have to resort to using their weapons during their course of duties,” Ferguson said. “We are praying for the family of this individual as well as our officers.”

It wasn’t immediately clear in front of which bar the gun fight occurred, Ferguson said, but added that it happened outside.

City-owned public safety surveillance cameras reportedly captured the footage of the shooting, according to New Orleans Police, which is being shared with the department’s Real Time Crime Center. Ferguson said the department will enact its video release policy.

The incident is under investigation, Ferguson said.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to call the New Orleans Police Department at 504-658-6800.

Read New Orleans Police Department’s use of force policy here.