Citizen stops man accused of attacking Smyrna officer

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Intense body camera video obtained by Channel 2?s Chris Jose shows the scuffle between the officer and the man he tried to arrest.

A Canton resident will be commended next week by the Smyrna City Council for his actions that saved the life of one of its police officers.

Gregory Chernak will be recognized at the City Council meeting at 7 p.m. March 16 for assisting a Smyrna officer who was attacked Feb. 5 while responding to a call of a suspicious person at an apartment complex fitness center on Woodlands Drive.

Chernak, an employee of the complex who called police around 7 a.m., said a man inside the fitness room “appeared very strange and was not doing anything,” said Smyrna police spokesman Sgt. Louis Defense.

Defense said the officer approached the man, who was standing in the corner of the room, and asked what he was doing. The man, later identified as Jeremy Trevon Johnson, told the officer he had just finished a workout, but would not provide his identification.

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Defense said the officer tells Johnson that he can either provide his identification to prove that he lives in the complex or face a criminal trespass citation. Johnson walks out of the fitness center, and the officer continues to ask him for his identification.

The cop begins to “briefly detain” Johnson to verify his identify, but Defense said the pair began to struggle. Johnson lunged at the officer and knocked his Taser to the ground, Smyrna police said.

According to an arrest warrant, Johnson got on top of the officer and pressed down on his neck. Defense said Chernak intervened by kicking Johnson off the officer, who was able to regain control and handcuff Johnson.

Defense said the officer soon discovered that Johnson was a resident of the apartment complex, but it was unclear why he did not provide his identification.

Johnson, 30, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on an officer, attempted removal of a weapon from a public official and obstruction. He was released Feb. 22 from the Cobb County Adult Detention Center after posting a $5,720 bond.

Defense said the officer suffered superficial injuries. He said Chernak’s decision to help the officer prevented a more tragic outcome.

“Had he not, we could have been talking about a deadly force encounter or an officer killed in the line of duty,” he said.

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