Los Angeles, CA -- Grammy nominated R&B artist Tank (Durrell Babbs) was a victim of police brutality in New Orleans on Sunday, February 17, 2008. The incident is under investigation and more detailed information is forthcoming.
Around 1:30 am on Sunday night a cheerful Tank departed from The House of Blues in search for his driver. Unfamiliar with the area of New Orleans, the Los Angeles resident asked security for directions to Iberville; where his driver was parked. Tank and a business associate, Ira Dewitt, followed the directions given. Briskly walking down the cold streets, Tank proceeded to turn the corner as directed by the previous officer. As he identified the whereabouts of his car he was halted by a New Orleans Police Officer who demanded he turn around and go a different direction to get to his car.
In an attempt to gain understanding and calm the tension, Tank assured the officer that they were not a threat; they only wanted to get to the car. With the vehicle in plain sight and one block away, Tank attempted to negotiate clearance for him and his business colleague to quickly walk to their driver. A snappy black Police officer told Tank he didn’t owe him any explanation and that he made himself clear. In an effort to find an alternate route to get to the vehicle, three white officers re-approached Tank questioning his actions. In disbelief, Tank asked them to explain in detail what they wanted. He was immediately pushed up against the wall with one arm on the wall and one arm bent behind his back, being held by the white officer, an aggravated officer repeatedly asked for Tank to put his other arm up on the wall as well. Repeatedly Tank told the officer he could not release his other arm pinned behind his back. The officer then proceeded to shoot Tank at point blank range with a taser gun. Thrust to the ground with pain, the officers warned Tank to never mess with the law in New Orleans. Tank was taken to the University Hospital; after being discharged the victim was immediately then taken to jail by the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and charged with disturbing the peace, public drunkenness and resisting and obstructing an officer. “Tank has engaged the services of the Law Office of Bernard L. Charbonnet, Jr. in connection with the incident that occurred in New Orleans during the most recent NBA All Star activities. As this matter is currently under investigation, we are unable to comment as to the circumstances surrounding this representation at this time. However, my firm intends to vigorously protect his interest as we do for all of our clients,” confirmed Attorney Benard Charbonnet.
In an effort to celebrate the rebuilding efforts of New Orleans and join the annual celebration of NBA All-Star, this was the last thing the R&B star expected. “The most frustrating part of the entire incident is knowing that I did not do anything to pose a threat but was treated like a criminal. With a clean-cut image and a lady by my side, the law took matters into their own hands and chose to endanger my safety and those accompanying me. It’s 2008 and New Orleans is still very much in trouble beyond the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I’m a living witness,” says a disgruntle Tank. Tank is most recognized for his success as a singer and songwriter landing collaborative working credits with artists such as Jamie Foxx, Omarion, Marques Houston and a contributor to the score of “Dreamgirls” in which he also had a cameo.
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