Two Officers Fired for Kicking, Punching Black Man During Traffic Stop: Video

One officer kicked Demetrius Hollins in the head while he was handcuffed.

Demetrius Hollins

Videos of a traffic stop in Gwinnett County, Ga., show two police officers punching and kicking a Black man who was pulled over for a broken taillight on Wednesday afternoon. Both officers have been fired in light of these videos.


The second video to emerge shows the beginning of the arrest, at which time Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni, who was hired in 1998, punching 21-year-old Demetrius Hollins in the face — even though Hollins exits the vehicle with his hands up.

Video via Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta Facebook Page

The first video to go viral shows Master Police Officer Robert McDonald, who had been with the department since 2013, arriving on the scene for backup. After Bongiovanni handcuffs and pins Hollins to the ground, McDonald runs over and promptly kicks Hollins in the face.

Video via Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta Facebook Page

Incidentally, Bongiovanni reported McDonald for his inappropriate actions during the arrest before video of the incident was even released.

An investigation is taking place, and both officers could face criminal charges.

"What I viewed on that video disturbed me, as it disturbed everyone who actually witnessed that video," Police Chief Butch Ayers said of the first video (before the department was aware of Bongiovanni's role in the incident). "The suspect, or the man, in that video, was lying down, he was clearly handcuffed, he was clearly not resisting, and he was not a threat to anyone. What happened yesterday at the hands of one of my former officers was embarrassing not only to the Gwinnett County Police Department, but to all law enforcement."

Bongiovanni had not mentioned any use of force in his police report but did acknowledge using a Taser on Hollins, WSB-TV Atlanta reported.

"The revelations uncovered in this entire investigation are shocking," a department media release states. "We are fortunate that this second video was found and we were able to move swiftly to terminate the supervisor who lied and stepped outside his training and state law."

"We acknowledge that the actions of these two officers have implications that will be felt for some time," the release adds. "However, we also believe that our decisive action in terminating both officers speaks volumes about what is expected of each officer that wears a Gwinnett County Police badge."

Hollins was released from the Gwinnett County jail on bond, with injuries to his face still visible, alongside two attorneys.

"My name is Demetrius Hollins and all I can say is I wish this never happened to me," he said.

Hollins faces charges for traffic violations as well as possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.

"He's doing okay," one attorney, Justin Miller, said. "We're going to let the Gwinnett County Police Department do their investigation, and when we find out more we'll tell you more."

ABC News obtained a copy of the police report that says Hollins was driving a car "that did not have a license plate and whose passenger side brake light was out.

"Hollins also changed lanes three times without a signal," the report continues. "The officer who pulled him over, identified in the incident report as Bongiovanni, said Hollins 'began to act strange' and started yelling, 'I need to call my mom' and 'You have to let me go.' The officer also said he smelled marijuana."

Bongiovanni recalled having pulled over Hollins previously, at which time he also "exhibited 'strange behavior,'" resisted arrest and called for his mother. It is not clear if the first incident played any role in the second.

Per ABC:

"Bongiovanni said he deployed his Taser on Hollins multiple times and placed him on the ground. The officer said Hollins eventually complied and he was able to handcuff the man. That's when McDonald arrived to assist, according to the report.

"Hollins had a bloody lip and nose, and he was examined by a medical unit before he was placed in the officer's patrol vehicle, according to the report."

The videos come just after an unidentified Sacramento police officer was put on administrative leave after a violent confrontation with a Black pedestrian. Police dash cams and a cell phone recorded the incident in which the officer accused Nandi Cain Jr. of jaywalking and began beating him after pinning him to the ground.

Both incidents come at the same time U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is calling for a halt on nationwide police reform.

"The misdeeds of individual bad actors should not impugn or undermine the legitimate and honorable work that law enforcement officers and agencies perform in keeping American communities safe," Sessions wrote in a Justice Department memo.

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