After a reported encounter with two off-duty cops at a bar on Tuesday, 36-year-old George Gomez’s face was swollen, and covered in cuts and bruises. Rookie cops Spencer Sutton and John Galman allegedly attacked him and called him a “fake American.” The two were arrested and charged with simple battery. At a hearing on Wednesday – the same day the New Orleans Police Department fired them – they pled not guilty to the charges.
Gomez, who was hospitalized after the incident, said the officers approached him because he was dressed in military camouflage clothes. “They didn’t like the way I was dressed,” he told the New Orleans Advocate. “They kept telling me I was not an American citizen and I was a ‘fake American.’”
George was born in the US and raised in Honduras. He also served with the Louisiana National Guard, but according to him, this did nothing to stop them from interrogating him. They questioned his military records, and though Gomez tried not to engage, the men continued to harass him outside of the establishment. Though, as WWLTV explains, the next part of the story is unclear, George said that the two cops confronted him when he exited his car. “We are gonna kill you,” Gomez claims they said. “It was a violent fight. It just took me by surprise.”
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison has confirmed that the cops were at fault in this incident. Eyewitness reports and videos “clearly demonstrates that our officers were the aggressors in this incident. Members of our department are expected to comply with the law and adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct, whether on- or off-duty,” he said in a statement.