The New Orleans Police Department is investigating the actions of a district commander after a video showing him aggressively tossing a woman to the ground went viral on social media this weekend.
NOPD has confirmed that the officer in question is Commander Octavio Baldassaro, who was recently promoted to lead the 8th District.
The woman appeared to be involved in a fight that a group of officers, including some on horseback, were attempting to break up. Taylor Bruce was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace (two counts), resisting an officer, battery of a police officer, and tampering. Another woman, Torian Lewis, was arrested for disturbing the peace.
According to department spokesman Andy Cunningham, the incident is being investigated by the NOPD’s Force Investigation Team to determine whether the force used in the incident was excessive. Cunningham also said that the city’s Independent Police Monitor, as well as the outside agency which monitors the NOPD’s progress on a federal reform pact signed six years ago, have both been notified of the probe “to ensure a fair and transparent process.”
In addition, Superintendent Ferguson has opened a formal disciplinary investigation after reviewing the video.
“I want our community to know we are taking this incident very seriously and you can be confident the NOPD is committed to conducting a fair and impartial investigation,” Superintendent Ferguson said. “Please understand these investigations take time, but that we will continue to be transparent throughout the process.”
You can see the full video below.