Henry County reaches $200K settlement in police choking of ex-NFL player

Desmond Marrow filed a lawsuit in Henry County after a video was posted online that appeared to show an officer choking him. He is shown during a 2018 interview with Channel 2 Action News.

Combined ShapeCaption
Desmond Marrow filed a lawsuit in Henry County after a video was posted online that appeared to show an officer choking him. He is shown during a 2018 interview with Channel 2 Action News.

Officer was fired, pleaded guilty to battery charges after 2017 incident

A former NFL player who was choked by a Henry County police officer during a December 2017 arrest has reached a financial settlement with the county, his attorneys said Wednesday.

An officer choked Desmond Marrow while he was in handcuffs following an alleged road-rage incident. Then-officer David Rose was initially cleared after an internal investigation that was closed within five days of Marrow’s arrest, but when cellphone video surfaced in April 2018, Henry police reversed course and fired Rose.

Marrow’s civil suit was filed shortly after Rose’s firing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following image was taken from cellphone video of Desmond Marrow’s arrest and may be disturbing to some viewers.

Combined ShapeCaption
The Henry County Police Department fired Officer David Rose after video that appeared to show him choking Desmond Marrow, a former NFL player, was posted online. Rose later pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Credit: WSBTV.com

The Henry County Police Department fired Officer David Rose after video that appeared to show him choking Desmond Marrow, a former NFL player, was posted online. Rose later pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Credit: WSBTV.com

Combined ShapeCaption
The Henry County Police Department fired Officer David Rose after video that appeared to show him choking Desmond Marrow, a former NFL player, was posted online. Rose later pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Credit: WSBTV.com

Credit: WSBTV.com

By early 2019, Rose faced criminal charges. He pleaded guilty to simple battery in September 2020 following a long legal standoff between his attorneys and prosecutors. He will no longer be able to work as a police officer due to his conviction.

ExploreFormer police officer pleads guilty to battery nearly 3 years after choking incident

Now, the civil suit has finally come to a close with a $200,000 settlement that “marks a record amount for a non-death, officer-involved use of force case in Henry County,” Marrow’s attorneys said in a statement.

“We are pleased that Henry County has decided to resolve the case brought by Desmond Marrow and for a record amount for a non-death case. Most significantly, the officer who choked Mr. Marrow pleaded guilty to battery, surrendered his law enforcement certification and will never work in law enforcement again — two rare conclusions in use-of-force cases,” attorneys Chris Stewart, Dianna Lee and Andrea Boyd said in a joint statement.

ExploreHenry County sued over police choking of former NFL player

“We recognize that most police officers honor their commitment to protect and serve and are integral parts of protecting the community. But those who violate that oath must be held accountable,” they added.

Henry County police officials did not return a request for comment.

In the video of Marrow’s arrest, he is heard screaming, “I’m not even fighting back” and “I can’t breathe” multiple times.

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 followed two men to the parking lot of a Target store on Jonesboro Road after they called him racial slurs and threw hot coffee into his vehicle while driving. A witness then called 911 and erroneously reported that the former player had a weapon, the attorneys have said, insisting their client cooperated with officers’ demands once they were on the scene.

During the internal investigation, police department leadership reviewed dashcam video in which Rose is heard telling his partner, “I’m not going to write it down, but hell yeah I choked that (expletive).”