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By Katy Reckdahl, Staff writer
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

Police Superintendent Warren Riley on Thursday suspended officer Ashley Terry, who allegedly brandished a gun and screamed expletives at a woman in front of dozens of children Tuesday at the Treme Community Center.
NOPD internal affairs investigators flocked to the Treme Center to interview witnesses Thursday morning, responding to a news report publishing witness accounts. The investigation found cause to believe that Terry "may have pulled her weapon" without cause, said Riley, who suspended the officer without pay.
Riley indicated that the conduct of officers who responded to a 911 call about the incident would also come under scrutiny.
"If the officer or officers who responded failed to write a report or take appropriate action, we will take action," Riley said.
Witnesses said the responding officer, whom Police Department spokesman Bob Young described Thursday as a "ranking 1st District officer," did little more than speak privately with Terry -- and then joke loudly about how she should've shot a man who challenged her during the incident.
Witnesses said the man only tried to defuse the dangerous situation, asking her to put the gun away because children were present. The ranking officer and one or two others who responded to the same call then filed the 911 complaint as "unfounded," Young said.
Terry, who has served on the police force 15 months, came to the center Tuesday afternoon to pick up a 7-year-old nephew from the Tamborine and Fan summer camp. For reasons unknown, she starting honking incessantly at the driver of the car in front of her in the pickup line.
When that driver responded, annoyed, the officer then screamed at the woman, "B -- -- , you don't know who you're f -- -ing with," among other coarse threats, witnesses said. At some point she identified herself as a 7th District police officer, and flaunted her gun in full view of many witnesses, including children, witnesses reported.
Kiyana Howell, the subject of the officer's tongue-lashing, said Wednesday that she was astonished to be threatened when she had her son and four other children in her car. Public Integrity Bureau officers interviewed her Thursday morning and told her that she should be hearing from them soon, she said.
"All I want is for me and my babies to be safe," Howell said.
About eight Public Integrity Bureau officers showed up at the center first thing Thursday, said center employee Belden "Noonie" Batiste.
Riley then called to express concern to the summer camp's director, Jerome Smith, known to children as "Big Duck" because he's seldom seen without children trailing behind, duckling-like.
Smith said all of the officers involved should be identified and suspended.
"The dirty laundry has to be put out there," he said.
At this point, Smith said, his first concern is for the children in his care. He planned to ask the Metropolitan Human Services District to intervene, because some of the children told him that they were frightened by the Tuesday incident.
"If Jerome needs folks over there to provide counseling, we're going to provide it," said the agency's head, Calvin Johnson. "Whatever those kids need, we're going to do."

Wire Service
 
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