Former Fulton jailer indicted on federal charges in detainee choking incident

Monique Clark accused of using excessive force

A former Fulton County jailer has been indicted by a federal grand jury after allegedly using excessive force on a detainee during the booking process.

Monique Clark, 32, of Stone Mountain, faces charges of using excessive force against a pretrial detainee. Clark was previously charged with felony counts of aggravated assault and violation of oath by a public officer and a misdemeanor count of reckless conduct.

She was fired soon after the June 5 incident and granted a $25,000 bond on the aggravated assault charge. Clark was a jailer in Fulton County for seven years before being terminated.

“We recognize that detention officers have a particularly challenging job as they work to maintain order and protect detainees in our district’s jails and prisons,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan said in a statement. “However, this detention officer allegedly abused a handcuffed Fulton County detainee by strangling her and must be held accountable for such outrageous conduct.”

The incident took place when a woman, arrested by Alpharetta police, was being booked at the Fulton County North Annex Jail in Alpharetta. According to an Alpharetta police report, the detainee was not cooperating and cursing at the officers.

Monique Clark, 32, was fired from her job as a jailer with the Fulton County Sheriff's Office after being arrested on charges of assaulting a detainee during a custody exchange, Sheriff Pat Labat said.

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

icon to expand image

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

As she was standing in front of a scan machine, which takes a mugshot and scans for weapons, Clark placed her right hand on the back of the detainee’s neck and grabbed the front with her left hand before applying pressure, body camera video released by Alpharetta police in June shows.

“Hey, I choke hold. I advise you to cooperate. Hold your face before you lose your breath. The choice is yours,” Clark can be heard saying while holding the detainee by her neck.

After Clark removed her hand, the detainee fell down and was unconscious for a couple of seconds before standing with the help of an Alpharetta police officer, the footage shows. It also shows the detainee being attended at the nurse station before being taken to the hospital.

According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, the detainee lost consciousness and suffered bodily injury as a result of the excessive force.

“We are pleased that the federal government is handling this case and we look forward to our client receiving the justice she deserves,” Suri Chadha Jimenez, attorney for the detainee, said in a statement.

Alpharetta Department of Public Safety Chief John Robinson answers the press questions on Friday, June 23, 2023 outside of Alpharetta Department of Public Safety in Alpharetta. Chief Robinson spoke in regards to a video of a Fulton County Police Officer choking an inmate while being booked. (Michael Blackshire/

Credit: Michael Blackshire

icon to expand image

Credit: Michael Blackshire

The incident was captured by Alpharetta officers’ body-worn cameras. Alpharetta Police Chief John Robinson said an internal affairs investigation determined the two Alpharetta officers at the scene did not violate any department policy.

Sheriff Pat Labat said Clark “willfully and intentionally (used) excessive and unnecessary force.”

“The indefensible acts of this one officer do not reflect the mission of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office,” Labat said in a statement shortly after Clark was arrested. “Being a detention officer is a difficult job but even under challenging circumstances there is absolutely no excuse for the behavior that led to this arrest.”