From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Two white Gwinnett County police officers fired for punching and stomping a black motorist following a traffic stop had a run-in with the same man last summer, records reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show.
The records paint a more complex portrait of the brutal interaction between the three men, which was captured Wednesday on separate cell phone videos that have been viewed tens of thousands of times.
Master Officer Robert McDonald and his supervisor, Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni, had arrested Demetrius Hollins in August for obstructing an officer and possessing less than one ounce of marijuana, a police report shows. Hollins’ lawyer Justin Miller told The AJC that Bongiovanni, who was shown on video punching his 21-year-old client in the face on Wednesday, also struck Hollins during that first encounter.
According to Bongiovanni’s report on the Aug. 2016 arrest, Hollins had a .380 gun with one bullet underneath his seat.
“We both struggled to place Hollins in handcuffs as he twisted his body, pulled his arms from us and physically resisted arrest,” said Bongiovanni, referring to himself and McDonald.
He made no mention of punching Hollins. But Bongiovanni’s personnel file reveals 67 incidents involving use of force in nearly two decades with Gwinnett police. He was involved in 19 use of force cases in his first three years on the job. Many of those involved Taser use. None were upheld.
Was excessive force used? Yes – the second officer had no apparent justification to run up and kick the subject, who appeared to be compliant at that time. Was excessive force used by the first officer? Not from this perspective. Was any of this justification for termination? Probably not – and it’s very likely an attempt at appeasement by a weak administration. If their actions were so heinous as to justify firing them, the department needs to release all the facts.
I TEND TO BELIEVE NOT MENTIONING THROWING A PUNCH IN YOUR REPORT, AND AGAIN FAILING TO EVEN HINT THAT YOU MAY HAVE THROWN A FIST OR ELBOW DURING AN I.A. INTERVIEW MAY GET YOU FIRED. HE WAS KIND OF GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO OWN IT AND DIDN’T.
Let these officers have THEIR day in court. And let’s get THE WHOLE STORY! I’ve been a deputy almost 20 years. It’s amazing how the media MANY times leave out all of the facts. What’s the loaded gun under his seat for???? Believe me, when I say that it’s not always how it may look!
Sorry, but “no dice”…Did the first officer witness the second kick a prone handcuffed subject? Regardless of what the reason for the initial thrown elbow/forearm, they both own that kick! At some point sooner or later in our careers, we have to become “that guy”, the one that calls B.S. to our contemporaries, unless you you want to see your credibility as well as your job go down the drain. Putting on this uniform doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to stupidity! For GOD’S sake, can police do any wrong in your eyes or do they all get a pass for getting dressed to go to work…..In the middle of traffic among that many witnesses? Not owning it in an I.A. interview even after being confronted with video? Stupid move by someone whose entire body of work has raised flags. Sorry, but the media isn’t to blame. This officer was a powder keg waiting to erupt. And I’m willing to bet, not one officer that knows both of these officers are surprised. We have them in every department.
Loaded gun under seat, or flamethrower in the trunk, or a dead body on hood. The officer still head stomped a prone handcuffed suspect.
I’m with you – let the FACTS speak for themselves. Even here, the story is whittled down and both sides are summarized with a lot of detail left out. And I say that from the perspective of a leader and an IA supervisor.
Reading your comment, although you are entitled to your opinion, is very disturbing. This story is about the recent assault of these officers on this particular citizen. Period. Men lie, Women lie…but the tape NEVER lies. There are many Police Departments across this country, all with different General Orders. But almost across the board, when someone is restrained, ie, in handcuffs, Force is not justified…period. Many DT Instructors, I being one of them, along with Use of Force Instructors even teach using the motto, “Once the Cuffs are On, the Fight is Off.” Sadly, it does not appear these Officers resulted to their training. I am looking forward to their day in Court. Be Safe…
If, a big if, you really are a DT Instructor, you are either and idiot or a fool. Or both. Just because a suspect is handcuffed, doesn’t meant they are no longer a threat. MANY officers have been shot and killed by handcuffed suspects. Many have been assaulted and injured by handcuffed suspects. I’m not defending these officers actions, I wasn’t there. But your statements are foolish and reckless.
Good afternoon AndyM, I actually agree with you: there are many instances where suspects have been able to overcome Officers and sadly, in some instances, killed Officers. However, my statement unfortunately was misconstrued by you. Yes, I absolutely said, “Once the Cuffs are On, the Fight is Off.” But, AndyM, I never said that an Officer should de-escalate their situational awareness. I said THE FIGHT IS OVER AndyM. The actions displayed by these officers on camera were not those of Officers that were in a fight/battle with a suspect. To take one small piece of my comment and to categorize my statement as “foolish & reckless” shows that you are lacking reading comprehension skills. Or maybe you are an idiot. Or a fool. Or both…
Be Safe AndyM…
THIS HAPPENS A LOT IN GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA!!
This SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED but what I cannot believe is that these two cops did what they did in an age where EVERYBODY has a cell phone with a camera!!! They had to have known that someone would be recording them!!! But, obviously they think they are above the law and didn’t care! Lock them up with the other criminals and throw away the key.And, DO NOT put them in protective custody! And by the way, as a Gwinnett County citizen, this happens A LOT MORE THAN PEOPLE REALIZE WITH GWINNETT COUNTY COPS! But, DA Danny Porter hates a dirty cop and will make sure justice is served!
DA Danny Porters sounds like a decent man, and great DA. Like the few DAs , who prosecute police misconduct, I fear , that the following may happen to him , or his family. Arrested for DUI, at DUI checkpoint, In a jurisdiction , where prosecuted cops commited misconduct.
Child pornography and or narcotics will be found at his home. Police getting a warrant based on anonymous tip.
He will be accused of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, by a prostitute or an escort, or female coworker.
He may be injured or killed by a hit and run. His car maybe run of the road by large truck. His children may be arrested by police conducting drug sweeps at school.
So many ways for corrupt police departments, I am talking to you at Albuquerque PD, Maricopa Sherrif’s Dept., and Humboldt Co. NV Sherrif , to apply pressure on those charged with oversight of law enforcement agencies.
To the three agencies, mentioned, and unnamed agencies around Ft. Rucker, AL. You are disgraceful POS. Disgrace to the badge , Constitution, American People, and your families.