“He couldn’t come in and plead to something that would make him a criminal,” Sexton said. “He’s taking a risk of a felony conviction and possibly going to prison.”
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The incident in question started with a report of aggressive driving in the Target parking lot on Jonesboro Road in McDonough. Rose and his partner Matthew Donaldson responded and a confrontation with Marrow ensued. Cellphone video showed Rose choking Marrow as he lay on the ground, handcuffed. Subsequent statements by Rose contradicted his official account, including this admission to Donaldson, captured on dashcam video: "I'm not going to write it down, but hell yeah I choked that (expletive deleted)."
But an initial investigation, completed by Henry’s internal affairs division five days after the incident, cleared Rose. In his report, shared only with Henry County commissioners, Internal Affairs Division Maj. Mike Ireland determined that Rose’s hand “was placed in the area of Mr. Marrow’s neck (and) does not appear to be intentional.”
Marrow’s movements caused Rose’s hand to slip around the neck, the report stated.
Then, in April 2018, the cellphone video depicting Marrow’s arrest hit social media, provoking widespread criticism. Henry police leadership was quick to respond. Rose was fired. Henry Police Chief Mark Ammerman said his department “does not tolerate this type of conduct from its officers.”
There was no mention of that initial investigation that had cleared Rose. Marrow’s attorneys would later discover that Henry police officials had seen the cellphone video, and the dashcam footage in which Rose admits to choking Marrow, prior to the completion of that first investigation.
Rose believes Ammerman “threw him under the bus,” said Sexton, adding that the police chief’s handling of Rose’s case will figure prominently in his defense.
Marrow’s attorneys have pushed for Pattillo and state Attorney General Chris Carr to open a separate probe into the Henry police administration. But so far, no such investigation has taken place.