Both Gwinnett County police officers have been fired after video emerged of them pulling a driver out of a car and beating him mercilessly. One of the officers was 19-year veteran of the department, Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni. He was the man who pulled Demetrius Hollins out of his car as Hollins had his hands up. He also punched the driver, who didn’t try to resist. Bongiovanni tried to defend himself by saying he “shoved” Hollins to create space before Hollins was tasered, but the recently surfaced video showed a punch by Bongiovanni. Once Hollins was tasered and put face down on the ground, the second officer, Robert McDonald, ran up and stomped on Hollins, who was not in a position to defend himself.
“What I viewed last night was disturbing to me and disturbing to others,” was what Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers said in a Thursday press conference. McDonald was fired within 24 hours, and Bongiovanni was terminated on Friday. Criminal investigations into both officers’ conduct have been commenced. Also, the Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office said that 89 cases involving either of the officers have been dismissed: “The actions of these officers completely undermine their credibility and they cannot be relied upon as witnesses in any pending prosecution.”
Hollins is facing several charges, including driving with a suspended license, failure to signal, and possession of marijuana, but the mugshot that police released of Hollins bloodied in his nose area took over social media, especially in conjunction with the videos of the officers’ treatment of Hollins. Francys Johnson, President of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, expressed the sentiment of many urban residents in Georgia and around the country: “I am disgusted by the intolerable conduct of the Gwinnett County police officer who kicked Demetrius Bryan Hollins, 21, in the head… Unfortunately, this conduct is par for the course in too many agencies charged with the duty of serving and protecting the public.”