In April 2017, two then Georgia police officers were caught on tape beating a 21-year-old black man named Demetrius Hollins. The officers, Michael Bongiovanni and Robert McDonald, were subsequently fired after public outcry. Now, a grand jury has indicted Bongiovanni and McDonald on felony charges of aggravated assault and of violating their oaths of offices, WXIA reports. They were also indicted on other misdemeanor battery charges.
Grand jury members watched the video which showed Bongiovanni hitting a compliant Hollins as he exited his vehicle with his hands raised. He then struck Hollins once again as he turned him around to handcuff him.
A subsequent video showed McDonald rushing to the scene and kicking Hollins in the head. Hollins was already handcuffed at the time McDonald arrived.
CNN reports that following the arrest, the two officers claimed they arrested Hollins after he didn't follow directions and resisted when they instructed him to get out of the car.
Bongiovanni's lawyer, Mike Puglise, claimed his client didn't use an inappropriate method to pivot Hollins around so that he could be handcuffed.
“The gates of the Colosseum are open wide,” Bongiovanni’s lawyer Mike Puglise told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “and the crucifixion begins against these police officers.”
McDonald's attorney, Walt Britt, is seeking a second case to have the indictment thrown out.
“We are relieved to hear that the District Attorney’s Office is taking the necessary steps to address the criminal aspect of the behavior exhibited by these officers,” said Hollins’ lawyer in a statement to WSB-TV. “These officers’ actions have had a debilitating effect on our client, and we are grateful to those members of the Gwinnett County Community, who chose not to look the other way, but instead chose to document this incident.”