Gwinnett County Officer under Investigation for Assaulting Handcuffed Man

Apr 15, 2017, 05:31

A second Georgia officer has been fired after police say video surfaced of him hitting a man in the face.

The Gwinnett County Police Department announced Thursday that the officer, three-year police veteran Robert McDonald, has been fired.

A Georgia police officer has been fired after a now-viral video showed him stomping a handcuffed suspect's head during a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon.

"There is no question when there is a video that emerges that shows clearly what occurred, police departments are reacting more quickly", says Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Washington-based Police Executive Research Forum, a group of law enforcement professionals.

"I was actually trying to get to the camera app because I actually kind of had an encounter. with the particular police officer before and he charged me with the same charges as he charged me with yesterday", said Hollins, who was booked for marijuana possession, obstruction and multiple traffic violations.

An incident report was not yet available Thursday morning, police said.

A day earlier, Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni pulled over motorist Demetrius Hollins, according to police Chief Butch Ayers. 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...

It shows 19 year veteran Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni pulling the driver out of a red auto.

The video, which was posted online, shows an officer appearing to yell orders at a handcuffed man who then lies face-down in a left-turn lane of the busy intersection.

The officer who made the stop reported McDonald to superiors, Ayers said. This one showed Bongiovanni dragging Hollins out of his vehicle before McDonald arrived on the scene. Later that evening, a second video surfaced showing Bongiovanni punching that same man. We have taken appropriate and swift action to deal with this.

Police said Thursday night that Bongiovanni had been terminated, and a criminal investigation is underway. Police say they found what they believe was marijuana in the vehicle, as well as a bottle of urine wrapped in tea bags, which the report says officers believe was meant for someone to pass a drug test.

In this undated Gwinnett County Police Department photo, Master Police Officer Robert McDonald poses for an official portrait. The results will be turned over to the county district attorney, who will decide whether to prosecute McDonald. But now that only means that both officers need to be fired. In July, a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer received a 52- month prison sentence for "depriving an arrestee of his civil rights by assaulting him and forcing a gun into his mouth while the victim was handcuffed", according to the DOJ.

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