Second Georgia police officer fired after new video shows him punching same man kicked by other cop, officer Robert McDonald
Earlier video had shown Hours after a Georgia police officer Robert McDonald was caught him kicking a handcuffed Demetrius Hollins in the face, McDonald was subsequently fired
The new clip sees a Gwinnett County police officer, identified as Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni, pulling over Demetrius Hollins just outside Atlanta early Wednesday evening.
Hollins can be seen exiting his vehicle with his hands raised when the 19-year police veteran, who also appears to have his weapon aimed, winds up and punches him in the head.
Hollins’ hands remained in the air throughout the confrontation.
He was pulled over because his red Acura Integra didn’t have a license plate and one of his brake lights was broken. According to an incident report filed by Bongiovanni, Hollins switched lanes three times without signaling. The officer said he phoned for backup because the suspect began to “act strange,” allegedly stirring up memories of Hollins’ behavior during a previous arrest in August, according to the report.
However, the 21-year-old Georgia college student told NBC’s “Today” show that he differently his previous “encounter” with one of the officers educated him on how ro deal with the situation.
After he is bonded out, a bloodied Demetrius Hollins addresses the media before heading to hospital
Appearing on Friday morning, Demetrius Hollins told the Today show host that the prior encounter spurred him to try to record Wednesday’s traffic stop with Gwinnett County cops near Atlanta.
“He start(ed) shoving me in my car and telling me that I was never going to have a video, that I was never going to make the phone call to my mom,” Hollins told NBC News.
“When I had my hands up, that’s when he punched me in the face.”
“If there were no cameras, they would have gotten away with it,” his attorney Justin Miller told NBC News.
Miller added that “they would have painted him [Hollins], as the bad guy, arrested him, brushed it under the rug and probably did it to them again the next time they saw him.”
In the earlier video, which had been released on social media on Wednesday, the driver — identified on Thursday as Demetrius Hollins — was being placed on the ground while in handcuffs by the officer that initially responded, while Officer Robert McDonald rushes out and stomps the prone man
In his own reaction Police Chief Bush Ayers said: “I’m very upset. I’m mad and I’m sick that this second video showed up,” Chief Ayers said during a press conference, noting he was also glad the footage surfaced and allowed them to take action against the supervising officer, who was hired by the force in 1998.
On Thursday night police announced that the sergeant had been fired. They added that they had launced a criminal investigation into Bongiovanni as well as a second officer, Robert McDonald, involved in the controversial traffic stop.
In that earlier video shared to social media on Wednesday, Bongiovanni can be seen handcuffing Hollins and placing him on the ground as Gwinnett County Master Police Officer Robert McDonald arrives in response to his superior’s backup call.
McDonald can be seen approaching Hollins and then stomping on his face as he lay on the ground unable to defend himself.
“What I viewed last night disturbed me as it disturbed everyone who witnessed that video,” the chief said. “What happened yesterday at the hands of my former officer was embarrassing not only to the Gwinnett County Police Department, but to all law enforcement.”
He bonded out on traffic and possession of marijuana charges, exiting the jail with his attorneys by his side. They told 11 Alive he was doing well, but was headed to the hospital to get checked out.
Within 24 hours of these videos surfacing, the affected officers have been fired from their jobs
Mere hours after the police department’s press conference, the footage of Bongiovanni surfaced and he was fired shortly after.
Police said Thursday night the sergeant had been fired. They added that they’ve launced a criminal investigation into Bongiovanni as well as a second officer involved in the controversial traffic stop
“I’m very upset. I’m mad and I’m sick that this second video showed up,” Chief Bush Ayers said during a press conference, noting he was also glad the footage surfaced and allowed them to take action against the supervising officer, who was hired by the force in 1998.
Ayers condemned both of their actions and revealed the superior officer hid his actions from investigators while filling out reports regarding the incident.
“We acknowledge that the actions of these two officers have implications that will be felt for some time,” a statement from the police department reads. “However, we also believe that our decisive action in terminating both officers speaks volumes about each officer that wears a Gwinnett County Police Badge.”