Ex-Henry County officer charged in choking of former football player during arrest

An ex-Henry County police officer seen in cellphone video choking a former football player during an arrest has been charged with simple battery, the Henry County District Attorney announced Friday.

Footage shows David Rose using excessive force while arresting a handcuffed Desmond Marrow in front of officers in the parking lot of a McDonough Target on Dec. 2,  2017, according to prosecutors.

RELATED: Former football player says Henry police assaulted him during arrest

Rose, who worked for the department for nearly three years, was fired months later. But an internal investigation revealed last summer that the department’s top brass had seen the video days after the arrest and cleared the officer of any wrongdoing. 

MORE: ‘Henry County got it right’: Officer fired for choking ex-football player 

They were also aware of dashcam video in which Rose is heard telling his partner, Officer Matthew Donaldson, “I’m not going to write it down, but hell ya I choked that (expletive).”

MORE: Before dismissal, Henry County cleared cop who choked ex-NFL player

In a news release sent Friday, Henry DA Darius Pattillo accused Rose of “intentionally making physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature” by grabbing Marrow by the neck and choking him.

“As part of the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office learned that Rose choked Marrow during the arrest while he was handcuffed from behind and on the ground,” the release said.

ALSO: Cop involved in ex-football player’s arrest put on administrative duty after video surfaces

Marrow’s attorneys said Friday they were pleased Rose has been charged.

“It is a historic day for civil rights and justice, showing all people that you will be held accountable even if you wear a badge and break the law,” the attorneys’ statement read in part.

Henry County jail records show the ex-officer has not been arrested. Rose is scheduled to appear before Henry County Superior Court Judge Holly Veal at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the DA’s office said in the release.

Marrow, a former University of Toledo cornerback, signed with the Houston Texans in 2012 after going undrafted, but he never played in an NFL game.

His lawyers previously said the 2017 altercation began when Marrow was called racial slurs by two white men while driving and that one of them threw hot coffee into his vehicle.

He followed the men to the parking lot of the Jonesboro Road Target store, where words were exchanged. 

His attorneys said he was arrested after a witness called 911 and erroneously reported that the former player had a weapon, insisting their client cooperated with officers’ demands once they were on the scene.

Marrow was charged with making terroristic threats and obstruction, both felonies, and reckless driving and aggressive driving, both misdemeanors.

A magistrate judge subsequently dismissed the terroristic threats charge against him, and the DA’s office dismissed the felony obstruction charge. 

The two traffic-related charges were transferred to the Henry County Solicitor’s Office.

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