A Gretna Police Officer was arrested last week charged with simple battery and malfeasance stemming from an incident that took place in April of this year. Officer Robert Wallow, 47 was arrested this week for punching and kicking Carlos Gustavo Pineda, 21 after he was caught burglarizing a store called Latino Express located in Gretna on April 22, 2016. Pineda was allegedly caught exiting a broken window of the store. A surveillance camera depicts Wallow punching Pineda several times in the head and then once handcuffed, Wallow can be seen kicking Pineda several times in his side as well as his head.
“We certainly have acted swiftly upon discovering this information,” Gretna Chief Arther Lawson said according to Nola.com. However in a department as small as Gretna, (100 officers) information moves fast and on April 25 just days after the incident and months before the Chief became aware of the incident, Wallow’s supervisors opened an internal affairs investigation against Wallow providing investigators with the surveillance video.
The surveillance video clearly shows that Pineda was not resisting as he lay face down on the pavement with his hands on his head. Punching a person who is complying is considered excessive force. Once handcuffed, Pineda is kicked, and Wallow appears to pull out his firearm and point it at the back of Pineda’s head before kicking him several more times. Putting a gun to the back of a handcuffed individual and then kicking him is excessive force. Another important thing to note is that different officers were present at different times during this altercation. Did they document Wallow’s use of force in their reports?
Lawson claims he wasn’t aware of the incident until August 25, when Lawson was made aware of another internal inquiry unrelated to Wallow. “It all had been documented, it just did not move as quickly as it should have,” Lawson said. On August 26, Wallow was put on administrative leave, and on August 29 according to Deputy Chief Anthony Christiana, a criminal investigation was launched again Wallow.
According to RawStory.com on Thursday September 15th, Wallow was officially terminated from the Gretna Police Department, and that same day an investigation was opened into the complacency of the initial internal affairs investigation.
On Friday Wallow turned himself in and was booked and charged. “Based on this investigation, and the camera surveillance footage, it is clear that Officer Wallow had committed battery on Mr. Pineda by both striking him with a closed fist as well as kicking Pineda to the head and torso. At the time of the battery, Carlos Pineda posed no danger to Officer Wallow,” Lawson said in a written statement.
Wallow had been at the Gretna Police Department since 2015 and before that
had been with the Westwego Police Department since 2012.
(Article by Jacob Crawford)
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