Investigation finds NOPD 8th District Commander not at fault in FQ fight

NEW ORLEANS The NOPD’s “Force Investigation Team” has cleared 8th District Commander Octavio Baldassaro of the allegation that he used excessive force to arrest a woman on April 14, during French Quarter Fest.

The investigation stemmed from a viral video, in which Baldassaro appeared to throw the woman to the ground, twice, before other officers arrived to handcuff her.

According to NOPD Communications Director Andy Cunningham, Superintendent Shaun Ferguson “immediately opened a formal disciplinary investigation” after reviewing the video.

Almost four months later, on Thursday (Aug. 1), Cunningham reported that the investigation found that Baldassaro’s actions “fell within the department’s use of force policy.”

However, Cunningham also noted that Supt. Ferguson “has instructed his command staff to take a deep dive into this case to determine if (the) officers could have handled the situation differently.”

Ferguson released a statement saying that the NOPD “took what happened that day very seriously… conducting a fair and impartial investigation.”

“Bottom line,” said Ferguson, “this was an unfortunate incident for all involved, and it is always the goal of (the) department to never have to engage in this way.”

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