785 F.2d 1237 (5th Cir. 1986), 85-3544, United States v. Walker

Docket Nº:85-3544
Citation:785 F.2d 1237
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. John L. WALKER, and Joseph Hebert, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:March 27, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 1237

785 F.2d 1237 (5th Cir. 1986)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

John L. WALKER, and Joseph Hebert, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 85-3544

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

March 27, 1986

Page 1238

David M. Hufft, Gretna, La., for Walker & Hebert.

John P. Volz, U.S. Atty., Daniel Linhardt, Joseph I. Giarusso, Jr., Asst. U.S. Attys., New Orleans, La., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before GEE, RANDALL and DAVIS, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Defendants appeal from their convictions under 18 U.S.C. Secs. 242, 1512 of depriving certain persons of their civil rights. We affirm the convictions.

I.

James Winkler was driving to his home at approximately eight o'clock on the evening of April 18, 1985. Officer James Walker of the Mississippi River Bridge Police Authority observed Winkler exit the Mississippi River Bridge in New Orleans in excess of the speed limit. As Winkler came down the exit ramp at Camp Street, Walker pulled him over. Both men got out of their cars, and, according to Winkler's testimony, Walker then ordered him to assume a spread eagle position with his hands on the trunk of his own car. Winkler claims, though Walker denies, that the officer then struck him in the back. In any event, the two exchanged words, and Walker taunted Winkler, challenging Winkler to hit him. Winkler complied, striking Walker in the face.

Up until this point, Winkler and Walker were the only two at the scene. Soon an attorney named Eric Person, who was called at trial as a witness by the defense, arrived and observed Walker atop Winkler hitting Winkler on or near the face. Next, a local television news reporter, along with a cameraman, arrived. The two happened to be driving in the vicinity when they saw the scuffle. The news team initially believed that the police officer was in trouble. That turned out not to be the case. The two stopped to observe, and the cameraman, Hubert Vigreaux, started to film the incident. The reporter, Lynn Gansar, continued to watch and used her two-way radio to call for help. Gansar saw Walker on Winkler's back, and she watched him beat Winkler as Vigreaux began filming the action.

Vigreaux's film begins as Walker is tightening the handcuffs on Winkler. At about the same time, Walker's immediate supervisor...

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