Attorney calls for Georgia officers to be criminally charged

Trevor Jackson
April 17, 2017

For the second time this week, bystander video appears to show a white police officer stomping on a handcuffed black suspect's head during an arrest.

Another video shot by a witness to the stop shows the second officer called to assist with the stop, Robert McDonald, jog into the picture from offscreen and immediately begin kicking Hollins as he is handcuffed on the ground.

In Georgia, not one but two Gwinnett County police officers were fired less than 24 hours after cell phone videos surfaced of them punching and kicking a handcuffed motorist.

Late Friday afternoon, the Gwinnett County Solicitor's office confirmed that both of Hollins' cases - from 2016 and 2017 - have been dismissed by the county because of the involvement of Sgt. Bongiovanni and Officer McDonald.

Bongiovanni pulled Hollins over in Lawrenceville, just outside Atlanta, police said.

Police Chief Butch Ayers said: "What I viewed on that video disturbed me, as it disturbed everyone that witnessed that video".

"We can nearly betcha the Chief of Police will say, "I'm sorry but we can't speak on personnel matters or we are conducting a full investigation" and after the investigation they will say..."

The police department statement says the two officers violated their training and state law.

The department says an investigation into McDonald's actions was launched immediately, and he was sacked by midafternoon Thursday.

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A shift supervisor started investigating McDonald's behavior immediately, police said. Results will be turned over to the county district attorney, who will then decide whether to bring criminal charges in the cases.

"The fact that these guys felt so brazen as to. assault him in public in broad daylight in front of hundreds of onlookers and hundreds of cars is indicative of what they think is OK".

Bongiovanni, who's been on the force 19 years, wrote he ordered Hollins out of the auto, but a struggle ensued. Reports indicate that Demetrius Bryan Hollins was booked on charges including obstruction of a police officer, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, failure to signal, operating a vehicle with suspended or revoked registration, and several other traffic violations.

Bongiovanni states in the report that Hollins yelled and refused to obey orders when he ordered him out of the vehicle, and resisted when the officer tried to arrest him.

The almost two-minute video, taken by a witness on a cellphone, appears to show a police officer pull a driver, who is black, from his vehicle and struggle with the man before placing him on the ground and putting him in handcuffs. "I have to make sure your license is good and that the vehicle is not stolen", the officer said.

An incident report filed by Bongiovanni following Wednesday's traffic stop made no mention of Hollins being punched or kicked. About 45 seconds into the video, McDonald is seen jogging into the frame, barely slowing down before stomping on Hollins' face. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions moves to de-emphasize reform that might address the issue of police brutality, it's unlikely the picture will become clearer anytime soon.

After he took Hollins to jail, Bongiovanni told a supervisor that McDonald had kicked the suspect in the head. He claimed Hollins was choked during that traffic stop and said his client wanted to record this encounter.

"The truth would never have come to life without these videos", Hollins said, reading from a prepared statement.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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