Attorney calls for Georgia officers to be criminally charged

Posted April 17, 2017

The Gwinnett County Police Department said Thursday that McDonald had been fired from his post, and a few hours later, said that Bongiovanni was also fired.

Two Gwinnett officers, Michael Bongiovanni (left) Robert McDonald (right), are fired after new traffic stop video surfaces showing them punching and kicking motorist.

Hollins, 21, had been pulled over in Lawrenceville around 4pm Wednesday by Bongiovanni, the police say, and as shown in a video that appeared on the Everything Georgia Twitter feed, Bongiovanni punched Hollins in the face after Hollins came out of the vehicle with his hands up.

Bongiovanni pulled Hollins over in Lawrenceville, just outside Atlanta, police said.

"The cellphone video is very disturbing and it speaks for itself", the Gwinnett County Police Department said of the first video.

"We acknowledge that the actions of these two officers have implications that will be felt for some time", the Police Department said in a statement.

Criminal investigations have been launched into the officers actions.

Miller wants the sergeant's entire unit investigated and said other potential victims already contacted him. Both will be turned over to the Gwinnett County District Attorney's office.

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Bongiovanni, who's been on the force 19 years, wrote he ordered Hollins out of the vehicle, but a struggle ensued.

Hollins faces charges that include obstruction of a law enforcement officer, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, failure to signal, having a broken brake light, operating with a suspended, canceled or revoked registration, and driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to jail records. His report maintained that he smelled marijuana on Hollins and that Hollins tried to resist arrest.

An Ohio police officer captured on video apparently kicking a handcuffed suspect in the head also was involved in a fatal shooting a year ago. It wasn't immediately clear whether either man had an attorney who could comment.

As Hollins lay handcuffed on the ground, "another cop came out of nowhere and stomped me in the face". Bongiovanni asked Hollins to get out of the vehicle and he resisted, the report said. But police say the video contradicts that, showing Hollins exiting the auto with both hands up and Bongiovanni hitting him in the face as Hollins stands with his hands still up.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (http://on-ajc.com/2oi1nu2 ) Hollins said during the press conference that the encounter with police was "the scariest moment of my life".

Bongiovanni eventually said he needed to use a Taser on Hollins and handcuff him. Justin D. Miller said at a news conference Saturday, April 15, 2017, that the firing of Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni and Master Police Officer Robert McDonald was not enough.

"You don't picture yourself seeing a police officer do that live and in person", Dillard said.