Video of Shamarr Allen incident doesn’t end debate over what happened

A week after New Orleans trumpeter Shamarr Allen said state troopers roughed him up during a traffic stop in the Lower 9th Ward, State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said Tuesday that he is satisfied his troopers handled the incident properly because the musician was “noncompliant and resisting.”

Edmonson’s statement, which came the same day State Police released a 14-minute video of the incident, drew a harsh response from Allen, who said he still feels the troopers were overzealous and unnecessarily threatening.

“The scariest thing in the world is to be alone with six police officers with guns in your face,” Allen said, denying he was uncooperative. “Why would I put up any type of fight after the police have me in handcuffs?”

Despite release of the video, there is still debate between troopers and Allen about what happened and what was said during the stop because Allen is out of the frame for most of the video and there is no audio.

The stop happened about 1:30 a.m. July 23, when Allen chanced upon a search in the Lower 9th Ward for a man who had escaped State Police custody in the French Quarter. Allen, driving his car, tried to leave the area, but State Police chased him to Caffin Avenue and Chartres Street.

He pulled over once they turned on their lights. Almost instantly two troopers rushed to his car. At least one had his gun out while he and another trooper began to pull on Allen’s arm through an open window.

Edmonson said Allen refused to show his right hand, leading troopers to fear he might have a weapon.

The video shows the troopers yanked him out of the car and rolled him to the ground. One shoved Allen’s face to the pavement when he tried to raise his head as other troopers handcuffed him.

Allen, who said he was dropping off a friend after playing a gig at a Frenchmen Street club, was then hoisted off the ground and marched toward the police car that was filming the stop.

At one point, he can be seen briefly struggling with the trooper walking him, though it’s not clear if Allen lost his balance or tried to wriggle free of the trooper’s grip. He then was pushed onto the car’s front bumper and questioned.

About five minutes into the video, Allen tries to stand up and is slammed back into the vehicle with a loud thud. He then is physically forced to sit down on the street, out of the video frame.

There is limited audio since no trooper was wearing a microphone. Edmonson said that happened because the trooper driving the unit was using a vehicle that was not normally his.

Some of the troopers’ faces are blurred in the video because they often work undercover investigations, Edmonson said. Release of the video was delayed several days while technicians pixelated their faces.

However, all the troopers involved in the incident were uniformed and in marked cars the night of the stop.

About 50 state troopers are patrolling in the city in response to a request from Mayor Mitch Landrieu after the recent mass shooting on Bourbon Street.

Edmonson said Allen was uncooperative and gave several different explanations of why he was in the area and why he tried to leave the way he did. “His story just wasn’t adding up,” Edmonson said. “Every action they (troopers) took was a direct response to any action he (Allen) took.”

Allen has not made any contact with State Police or filed a complaint with the agency.

“Unless any other information comes up, I’m through with this,” Edmonson said.

For his part, Allen said he believes he was cooperative but that he was anxious after he was pulled over.

“I told them exactly what was going on,” he said. “I had a friend killed by the police, a friend’s mother killed by the police. ... I’m sitting there dealing with this, and it’s all playing in my head.”

Allen was allowed to leave after a check on his name and car. He was not issued any citations.

The man whom State Police were seeking, Carl Crosby Jr., later was found at 5614 Chartres St., near where troopers first saw Allen. Crosby was booked on various drug charges, according to court records.

Follow Danny Monteverde on Twitter, @DCMonteverde.