2 Georgia Officers Charged in Beating Captured on Videos

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Criminal warrants have been issued for two former Gwinnett County, Ga., police officers videotaped punching and kicking a man after a traffic stop, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter said Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni and Master Officer Robert McDonald have each been charged with misdemeanor battery and violating their oath of office, a felony. A conviction under the latter charge carries a sentence of no less than one year in prison. Two weeks ago, videos surfaced showing Bongiovanni punching and McDonald kicking 21-year-old Demetrius Hollins even though the suspect did not appear to be resisting arrest. Hollins had been pulled over on April 12 for not having a license plate and changing lanes multiple times without signaling, according to an incident report.

Bongiovanni punched Hollins shortly after he emerged from his vehicle with his hands up. He was handcuffed and on the ground when McDonald kicked him in the head. Bongiovanni’s lawyer claimed the officer did not punch Hollins but rather struck him with his elbow, “an FBI-taught defensive tactic.” Gwinnett Police Chief Butch Ayers promptly fired the two officers, saying there was “no excuse for behavior like this.”

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