GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- A police officer who was fired after cell phone video captured a violent confrontation with a motorist, is fighting to get his job back.
Former Gwinnett County Police Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni's dismissal ended a nearly 17-year career with the agency. Now, his attorney said, they plan on appealing that decision.
Bongiovanni was terminated when cell phone video appeared to show him pull a man out of a vehicle and then punch him. Another officer, Robert McDonald, had already been fired after another video showed him appearing to stomp the same handcuffed suspect.
Attorney Mike Puglise said Bongiovanni was "following proper policy" at the time of the traffic stop. Puglise suggested that the original reports of the officer punching Demetrius Hollins were incorrect, and that the officer was really using an elbow-shoulder strike, which is an "official defense tactic."
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"He will continue to cooperate 100 percent with what I assume will be the District Attorney's investigation," Puglise said. "He has received an enormous show of support from his fellow police officers and members of the community."
The former officer has 15 days to file an appeal with Gwinnett County's Merit Board, and Puglise said that he is confident the veteran officer will win.
There is no word yet on whether the other officer involved, Robert McDonald, will appeal his firing.