Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo confirmed he is investigating police for their handling of the arrest of former NFL player Desmond Marrow.
Still unclear is whether that will include looking into allegations that Henry’s police chief and deputy chief engaged in a coverup.
Marrow’s attorneys have requested investigations at the federal and state level as well, but have so far been rebuffed. In a letter sent last week, Georgia Deputy Attorney General David S. McLaughlin wrote that the AG’s office does not have the authority to investigate police or Henry officials.
Marrow was arrested last December and charged with felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer. But charges were dismissed in May after a video released online showed Henry County Police Officer David Rose choking Marrow, who was handcuffed at the time. Rose was fired by Henry Police Chief Mark Amerman, who said the department “does not tolerate this type of conduct from its officers.”
But documents obtained by Marrow’s defense team showed that Henry police and county officials — including the chief, deputy chief, chairwoman of the board of commissioners and the county manager — had seen the video just days after Marrow’s arrest. Internal emails also revealed that officials were 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 deleted).”
Despite that, an initial investigation, completed on Dec. 7, cleared the officers. In that report, 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.
“My investigation revealed the officers were in compliance with policy,” wrote Ireland, who has since been promoted to deputy chief.
Had the video not gone public, Marrow’s attorneys allege, Rose would have never been disciplined.
But accountability has been tough to come by.
In a statement, Pattillio said a “use of force” investigation of the officers involved in Marrow’s arrest is ongoing.
A letter sent by Chris Stewart, one of Marrow’s attorneys, “will be put into the investigative file,” the statement read.
Pattillio’s investigation does not appear to involve Henry County commissioners. In his letter, Stewart said the commissioners “were aware of the incident immediately after it happened and were given the investigation materials to review on their own. Not one elected member of the Board of Commissioners followed their duties and came forward publicly to stop this illegal violation of Mr. Marrow’s rights or the actions of the Henry County Police Department.”
U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak has not yet responded to Stewart’s letter.
“I think it’s bigger than me,” Marrow told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This could’ve happened to anyone.”
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