Two former Georgia cops now face criminal charges after cell phone video showed them assaulting a handcuffed suspect, police announced Wednesday.
Gwinnett County Police department officers Michael Bongiovanni, 42, and Robert McDonald, 25, were charged with violating their oath of office and a misdemeanor battery, reports The Huffington Post.
“We believe it’s important and the management of the police department believes it’s important that they move forward with the arrest warrant,” district attorney Danny Porter explained.
The police department fired Bongiovanni and McDonald earlier this month after cell phone footage showed McDonald running up to kick Demetrius Hollins, a handcuffed black man, during a traffic stop. Second cell phone footage showed Bongiovanni punching Hollins. The department swiftly fired Bongiovanni after they discovered he lied about the punch on the police report and McDonald for the kick. (RELATED:Another Georgia Cop Fired For Punching Man In Face During Traffic Stop)
Hollins was pulled over for driving without a license plate and turning without signaling ,according to police. Police charged him with obstruction and possession of marijuana.
Bongiovanni has tried to appeal his firing. He stands by his actions, his attorney said, and maintains he followed proper procedure during the arrest.
“He respects the District Attorney’s office and understand they have a job to do. He also respects rule of law, and Sgt. Bongiovanni will defend himself and actions regarding that day,” his attorney statement read.
While happy that charges have been filed, Hollins and his attorney would prefer harsher ones.
“But we would have like to have seen something different, possibly greater charges against both officers. There are multiple violations of my client’s civil rights, more serious than misdemeanor,” they said.
The two police officers have yet to turn themselves in.
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