They see a man standing about 50 feet away in the street, pointing a gun. Pop, pop.Neveaux's lawyer is Eric Hessler:
He chose to hold his fire and let the car crawl forward. His partner... would say later that she tried to step out, but that he ordered her back into the car. He said he thought they needed cover, that they hadn't had time to assess the situation.
Within seconds, the pops stopped. The gunman fled, with Neveaux in pursuit, his partner in the passenger seat.
According to the New Orleans Police Department, what Neveaux did was wrong. So wrong, in fact, that internal investigators cited him for cowardice and neglect of duty. High-ranking officials conferred and confirmed. After an administrative hearing, NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley fired Neveaux.
Nine years ago, Hessler faced a similar split-second dilemma and did what Neveaux didn't: He shot.Damned if you, damned if you don't. What would have I done? I don't know. I wasn't there.
Hessler, then an NOPD officer, had come upon a shooting in progress.
The man firing his weapon, 23-year-old Steven Hawkins, turned toward him and fired, Hessler said. Hessler reached for his service weapon and fired back, hitting Hawkins once and killing him.
After the smoke cleared, police learned Hawkins, a carjacking victim, had been shooting at his attackers in self-defense.
The NOPD stood by Hessler and deemed the shooting justifiable. A grand jury cleared him of criminal charges.
The family of the deceased man sued in civil court, and a judge ordered the city last year to pay $700,000 to the man's parents.