Two Georgia police offers involved in an ugly incident caught on video earlier this month are being criminally charged.
The Gwinnett County Police Department said in a news release Wednesday that Michael Bongiovanni, 42, and Robert McDonald, 25, have each been charged with violating their oath of office, a felony, and with misdemeanor battery.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that under Georgia law the felony charge carries a sentence of no less than one year in prison if convicted.
Both officers were also fired after the April 12 incident.
Footage shared on Facebook by Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta shows 21-year-old Demetrius Hollins, who is handcuffed and on the ground, being pushed into the street by Bongiovanni.
Hollins is on his stomach and showing no signs of resisting when a second officer, identified as McDonald, runs to the scene and appears to stomp on Hollins’ head.
A second video appears to show Bongiovanni punch Hollins in the head as he steps out of his car with his hands up.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where both officers appeared to act without justification,” District Attorney Danny Porter told Atlanta ABC station WSB-TV.
Porter told the station more charges could follow.
Attorney Mike Puglise, who is representing Bongiovanni, told Atlanta NPR station WABE that his client maintains his innocence and plans to vigorously defend himself.
Police say Hollins had been stopped for turning without signaling and driving without a license plate, though Hollins says the license was in the rear window. He was charged with obstruction and possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, both misdemeanors, and four traffic violations, including driving with a suspended license, according to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.
Jail records indicate that neither officer had turned himself in as of late Wednesday, but they had been given until the end of Thursday to do so.
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Source: HuffPost Black Voices