A retired teacher whose beating by city police was caught on videotape pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of being drunk and resisting arrest as the officers involved denied using excessive force.
A lawyer for Robert Davis said charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation were groundless, and that they should be dropped. Joseph Bruno met briefly with city officials to discuss having the charges dismissed, and they agreed to continue their talks.
Davis, 64, was released on bond, and a trial was set for Jan. 18 -- a week after the scheduled start of the trial for the officers accused of beating him.
An attorney for the officers, Frank DeSalvo, said police were trying only to subdue Davis, and that their actions were justified because of Davis's resistance. Davis had stumbled into a police horse, had slurred speech and had been belligerent toward officers before his arrest, DeSalvo said.
"I see an incident of a man trying to be brought under control who doesn't want to be brought under control," DeSalvo said.
Davis says he had not been drinking before he was beaten by two police officers in a weekend confrontation taped by an Associated Press Television News crew. Those officers and a third accused of grabbing and shoving an APTN producer have pleaded not guilty to battery charges.
DeSalvo said the APTN producer grabbed one of the accused officers, S.M. Smith, and spun him around before the officer responded by pushing the producer away from the arrest.
Rich Matthews, the APTN producer, in an interview strongly disputed the lawyer's account, and said he never touched the officer.
The video shows that when Matthews held up his credentials, the officer grabbed him, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade. Matthews was not charged in the incident.