Report: Officer used excessive force against drunk UGA student

An Athens-Clarke County police officer has been fired and is now facing felony assault charges stemming from his arrest of an intoxicated UGA student in June, according to a report in the Athens Banner-Herald.

Officer Jonathan Fraser was fired last month after an investigation found that he used ‘excessive force’ when he arrested University of Georgia student Michael Roquet early June 13, according to the in-depth news report.

Investigators charge that Fraser knocked Roquet to the ground with a baton blow to the head during the arrest, according to the news report. That action constituted the use of “deadly force, according to police investigators in documents obtained by the newspaper. Fraser claimed the student was combative and resisted arrest.

The incident began when police received a call around 5 a.m. on June 13 that an intoxicated person was trespassing at the Marriott Courtyard Athens Downtown. Officer Fraser found Roquet on the hotel’s back patio, and told him to leave. When the student, who was obviously intoxicated, didn’t comply, Fraser arrested him. In the incident report, Fraser said the student was combative and resisted arrest. However, body camera video, a copy which was obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald, showed a different situation, according to the newspaper.

Police said the body camera video clearly shows Fraser striking Roquet in the head even though he was not combative. An internal investigation concluded Fraser, a 17-year-veteran of the police force, lied and used excessive force in arresting Roquet.

Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Scott Freeman made public body camera and surveillance videos from the Marriott Hotel, which he said backed up the excessive force charge against Fraser.

“Officers are trained to de-escalate, and nothing the student did would have required use of force,” Freeman said. “Clearly, the student was intoxicated, but all of the officers, especially with (Fraser’s) level of experience, are trained to deal with these situations. Everything Fraser did ran counter to that training.”