Initially charged with attempted murder, a New Orleans police detective no longer faces any criminal charges over the alleged beating of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office dropped a simple battery count against him on Wednesday.
Detective Robert Hurst, now relegated to desk duty, still faces possible administrative sanctions by the NOPD stemming from the December 2013 fracas.
In dropping the remaining misdemeanor battery count against Hurst, Cannizzaro’s office cited cold feet by the alleged victim.
“The victim refused to cooperate, and this was a case in which we could not continue to prosecute without the cooperation of the victim,” said Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for the office.
Hurst’s attorney, Eric Hessler, insisted that the 10-year NOPD veteran, who worked in the 5th District before his arrest last summer, never should have been charged with any crime, much less attempted murder.
Cannizzaro’s office dropped the attempted murder charge within days, saying there was no evidence of an intent to kill. At the time, in July, Bowman said prosecutors couldn’t pursue a domestic violence charge on Hurst because he and the woman never lived together. That left Hurst facing only a misdemeanor battery count.
Hessler has maintained that Hurst acted in self-defense.
The ex-girlfriend claimed Hurst threatened to kill her, then straddled her and choked her during a drawn-out fight, according to a police report.
She said Hurst then kneed her “three or four times” in the stomach after laying her out across the kitchen counter, the report said. She was 15 weeks pregnant at the time.
The report also said the woman had picked up a tire iron and pulled a knife on Hurst at the apartment complex where both lived.
Later, in a text-message exchange that police found through a search of Hurst’s iPhone, the woman asked Hurst if he had been trying to end her pregnancy.
“No I was trying to get you to stop biting me damn,” Hurst replied. “Just let it go. You were biting my chest. That’s it. My hands were holding the hands you were holding knives with. So when you bit I used my knee. Not a kick.”
Hessler said Wednesday there was “absolutely no evidence” of any crime, “other than her own statement, in which she indicated she was the aggressor. She armed herself.”
The woman reported the fight months later and claimed she suffered pregnancy-related bleeding afterward. Police never booked Hurst, leaving the charging decision to Cannizzaro’s office in a decision that has sparked criticism over how the NOPD handles criminal complaints against its officers.
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