NEW ORLEANS – Video shot by a protestor on the Crescent City Connection shows the moment NOPD officers opened fire with rubber bullets, despite Chief Sean Ferguson initially denying the use of what he called “stinger rounds.”
The protestor who filmed the confrontation provided the video to WGNO, but does not wish to be identified.
The grainy video shows a group of protestors standing a short distance from a line of officers stretched across the bridge. The video appears to have been filmed after police deployed tear gas canisters to disburse the crowd, which Ferguson initially said was the extent of the efforts by police to end the demonstration that led to the arrest of five people.
The protestor who recorded the scene can be heard chuckling at something seconds before a pop rings out.
“They’re shooting rubber bullets,” a male voice can be heard saying. “Rubber! Rubber! They’re shooting rubber bullets!”
Ferguson initially denied the use of rubber bullets when he addressed the issue at a press conference the next day. However, Ferguson has since admitted that the information he initially provided was wrong and that police did, in fact, fire rubber bullets at protestors.
“I received information that we deployed tear gas, and tear gas only on Wednesday night,” Ferguson said. “That was the information that I had at that time, and in an effort to be transparent, and get the information to you as quickly as possible, I relayed that information. I have since learned that we did in fact, our special operations division, did in fact use what is called rubber balls, or stinger rounds on the bridge on that night as well.”
Ferguson said the officers on the bridge were not authorized to use the rubber rounds on protestors, and said a formal investigation into the incident has been launched.
“This investigation will consist of looking at the use of force, looking at any policies, procedures that we may have had, that we can do better or differently,” he said. “More specifically – why wasn’t I given that information on that night?”