Two Athens police officers shown in a viral video restraining a young boy have been cleared of accusations of excessive force.
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department opened an internal investigation after video of the July 20 incident was shared to social media. The police department subsequently released its own body camera footage of the incident, which showed Officer Shawn Bond’s attempts to restrain a 10-year-old boy when he became upset about his father’s arrest and took a running leap toward Officer James Trotter.
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At one point, both officers stood over the child after he is taken to the ground, the video shows. While Bond takes his handcuffs out, the boy is never handcuffed. He’s released once he calms down, apologizes and tells the officers, “I’m good.”
Bond and Trotter were exonerated following the close of the investigation July 26, according to police records obtained by AJC.com.
“The child initiated the physical contact with the officer and the officer reacted. The officer only used open hands in restraining the child but was preparing to use handcuffs,” Lt. Richard Odum said in a report of the investigation’s findings. Odum’s report was approved by Capt. Mark Magnuson, acting chief of police.
“There were no charges filed against the juvenile in this incident even though his actions would be probable cause for obstruction and disorderly conduct,” Odum said.
The situation escalated quickly when Trotter was trying to place the boy’s father, Jawoski Mandell Collins, in a patrol car after he was arrested in a domestic incident at a home on Sartain Drive.
In the video, the boy becomes hysterical, telling the officers “you’re not going nowhere.” Female family members first attempt to restrain the child, but Collins tells them to let the boy go. Several times, he tells his son to calm down.
Bond steps in when the boy takes a running leap toward Trotter, Odum found in the investigation.
“The juvenile jumped into the air as he was approaching Officer Bond, and Officer Bond reacted by reaching out and catching the child in the air,” he said.
The momentum knocked the two into Bond’s patrol car, Odum said, and Bond is shown in the video struggling with the child against the back of the car. The officer said in a police report he was trying to distance himself from the boy’s family members, who were upset and trying to intervene.
Eventually, Bond puts the boy on the ground “where he could better control him,” Odum said, “... but did not put his body weight onto the child nor use his knee in the child’s back.”
Once they let him up off the ground, Bond said in his report he apologized to the boy and “explained the issue of officer safety.” The child was allowed to speak to his father through the patrol car window before Collins was taken to jail.
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