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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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