In yet another incident of police brutality, the two White officers involved in the arrest and beating of Demetrius Hollins omitted use of excessive force from their official report. Thanks to cell phone videos taken by witnesses, both men have been fired. The 21-year-old college student is now speaking out about what really happened the day that he was pulled over by Gwinnett County Officer Robert McDonald and Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni.
Hollins never expected such a ruthless attack. "I thought that he was going to at least grab one of my arms and put me in handcuffs, but I didn't realize he was going to punch me in the face," Hollins said. Reportedly he tried to film the traffic stop as this wasn't the first time he had encountered Bongiovanni before. Apparently, Hollins' attempt to record the encounter angered the sergeant. Hollins told NBC that the cop wasn't going to let him get any video or contact anyone: "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."
Two civilian videos ended up in the hands of Police Chief Butch Ayers who did not approve of what he saw. The first video showed Hollins getting out of his car with his hands up and was then struck in the head by Bongiovanni. The second video caught Officer McDonald stomping Hollins in his face while his partner pinned Hollins down on the ground. While McDonald, who was fired first, took responsibility for his actions, Bongiovanni offered no apologies. "He felt the force was justified," Ayers said. You be the judge:
Chief Ayers went on to say that he doesn't condone the officers' actions. He believes that not telling the entire story about the arrest amounts to lying. In addition to firing both officers, all charges against Hollins have been dropped. The department has also dismissed 89 criminal cases where Bongiovanni and McDonald were witnesses or arresting officers:
"The actions of these officers completely undermine their credibility and they cannot be relied upon as witnesses in any pending prosecution," the police department said in a press release.
So much for the Blue Wall. Gwinnett County PD might have just set the new standard for police officer accountability. Let's hope that more departments will follow suit.