Two former Gwinnett County, Georgia, police officers, who were fired after a traffic stop caught on camera that showed them kicking and hitting a man, have turned themselves in to police.
Former Gwinnett County police Sgt. Mike Bongiovanni turned himself in on criminal charges just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Former officer Robert McDonald turned himself in late Tuesday evening after his legal team spent the day trying raise the money for his bond. There was some sort of paperwork issue.
Bongiovanni was silent as he walked into the Gwinnett County Jail and paid the $15,000 bond.
Both Bongiovanni and McDonald are charged with one misdemeanor charge of battery and one count each of violation of oath, which is a felony.
The Gwinnett Police Department worked with the district attorney's office during the investigation.
"The Police Department and its employees will continue to serve the citizens while maintaining our core values and highest level of professionalism," Chief Butch Ayers said.
Videos that surfaced on social media earlier this month showed Bongiovanni hit Demetrius Hollins in the face before McDonald kicked him in the head while he was on the ground in handcuffs.
Prosecutors have since said the video shows what appears to be an object in one of the then-officer’s hands. They said they believe McDonald appeared to have his gun drawn during the incident.
Washington learned that could lead to an upgrade of his battery charge to a charge of aggravated assault.
"I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where both officers appeared to act without justification," Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.
Bongiovanni told Washington Thursday that his client, Bongiovanni, maintains his innocence and plans to fight the charges.
"He's prepared to defend himself on this. He stands by his actions,” Mike Puglise said.
As for the victim, Hollins said he constantly thinks about his encounter with the former officers.
“I’ve just been having nightmares and in my head and it’s just like, what could I have done that would have not let this happen to me?” he said.
There will be a grand jury hearing for both former officers in the next few weeks.
"Now he has this blemish and he's in the fight not only to protect his integrity of wearing that badge, but he's looking at prison time," Puglise said.
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