Two Georgia police officers were fired on Thursday after videos emerged on social media showing them punching and kicking a man who was handcuffed on the ground during a traffic stop.
The videos show Gwinnett County Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni, a 19-year veteran of the force, punch Demetrius Hollins, whose hands are raised, during what began as a routine traffic stop on Wednesday.
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 his police report, Bongiovanni said Hollins’ car didn’t have a license plate and that he didn’t immediately pull over. When he got out to talk to the driver, the officer claimed he could smell marijuana. Hollins was acting strange and started yelling “I need my mom,” Bongiovanni wrote in the report. When he ordered Hollins out of the car, a struggle ensued.
“Hollins refused to place his hands behind his back, spun around and began to actively resist arrest by bending at the waist and trying to push me away,” he wrote in the incident report.
Bongiovanni eventually said he needed to use a Taser on Hollins and handcuff him. He also wrote that he remembered detaining the same man during another stop, where Hollins allegedly had a loaded gun.
Police Chief Butch Ayers said when Bongiovanni spoke with internal affairs, he “said nothing about the punch,” an action the chief called “unreasonable and unnecessary.”
“I am almost for a loss of words for what we had to go through today for the unwarranted actions of two of my officers,” Ayers said.
No charges have been filed against either officer, but CNN reported that a criminal investigation is moving forward.