Man shown being beat in viral video speaks after Gwinnett officer's firing

A Gwinnett County police officer is under investigation after video of a traffic stop shows him kicking a handcuffed man in the head.

ATLANTA -- We're now hearing the first words of a man whose treatment by Gwinnett County police in a widely circulated social media video has led to the firing of two officers there.

His first statement was short and to the point after what could become a significant test of police action in the days to come.

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

Gwinnett officer fired after video shows stomping handcuffed suspect

His attorney Justin Miller with Morgan and Morgan said that he's doing OK as he was whisked away from the county jail for examination at an area hospital. Miller said they are now waiting on the police department's next move.

"We're going to let the Gwinnett County Police Department do their investigation and when we find out more, you know, we'll tell you more," he said.

On Wednesday around 4 p.m., officers responded to a traffic stop at the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

The initial video, called "very disturbing" by a police spokesperson, was captured on a cell phone by another driver in traffic. An ambulance responded to the scene and treated the man. 

Hollins was eventually pulled out of the vehicle. That's when the moments shown in the first video began to unfold - the video showing Officer Robert McDonald apparently attempting to slam his foot down on the suspect-turned-victim's head.

“What I viewed last night was disturbing to me and disturbing to other,” Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers said at a news conference. “What happened last night involving the officer last night was embarrassing to the Gwinnett County Police and other law enforcement.”

A second video has since been released showing that the actions of Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni contradicted his own statement - the officer punching and pummeling the driver whose hands were upraised. 

"We acknowledge that the actions of these two officers have implications that will be felt for some time. 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," the department said in a statement.

Before the second termination, Hollins's attorney called the firing of McDonald a move in the right direction but didn't elaborate on what they will be pursuing next.

"We think that's a good start, but there's a lot more to it than this and we want to get him squared away and make sure he's OK first," Miller said. 

Late Friday afternoon, the Gwinnett County Solicitor's office confirmed that both of Hollins' cases -- from 2016 and 2017 -- have been dismissed by the county because of the involvement of Sgt. Bongiovanni and Officer McDonald.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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