This how Gwinnett county police getting down now smh pic.twitter.com/FbLUmavbAx
— i Just Be Tweeting™ (@CurtFromDaBlock) April 13, 2017
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) April 13, 2017
Two Georgia police officers were fired on Thursday, after cell phone videos that showed them punching and kicking an unarmed black man during a traffic stop went viral.
A criminal investigation is underway but so far no charges have been filed against the two officers, Gwinnet County’s Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni and Officer Robert McDonald, who were fired after separate cell phone videos of the attack surfaced on Wednesday. The first video to emerge shows Bongiovanni punching and kicking Demetrius Hollins during a traffic stop. After it came to the attention of the the department, the subsequent investigation uncovered the second, according to CNN. The second video shows McDonald, who arrived on the scene to assist Bongiovanni, kicking Hollins.
As CNN reported, Chief Butch Ayers said that Bongiovanni left the punches and kicks out of his report, and never mentioned it during the internal affairs investigation.
“[Bongiovanni] had the opportunity to tell us what happened in the report and when he was interviewed by internal affairs,” Ayers reportedly said. “He said nothing about a punch. In this case, what we saw on video, that punch was unreasonable and unnecessary.”
When Bongiovanni was asked about the parts of his report that didn’t match up, he reportedly said, “it’s different on the streets.”
Some people on Twitter celebrated the department’s swift action.
The two officers that physically assaulted the driver they pulled over in Georgia have been fired…. won't he do it 🙏🏽🙏🏽
— DreTookHer🇬🇾 (@BeardedDre) April 14, 2017
Still, even when charges are filed in high-profile police shootings, grand juries can still decline to pursue them. In 2012, a Cleveland officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was holding a pellet gun in a gazebo. However a grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot him, or the training officer who was on the scene.
And when police shooting cases do go to court, they can often result in mistrials.
Last December, the murder trial of the officer who shot and killed motorist Walter Scott ended in a mistrial. Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager said that he feared for his life when he shot Scott.