GWINNETT COUNTY, GA - The firing of Gwinnett County Police Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni after a second video of a controversial traffic stop emerged marked the end of a nearly 17-year career with the agency.
A quick look at Bongiovanni's Concise Officer History, released early Friday, shows he was hired by the Gwinnett County PD on September 19, 1998. He was promoted to the rank of corporal in 2004, and to the rank of sergeant in 2007.
Bongiovanni was terminated Thursday 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 appear to stomp the same handcuffed suspect.
Over the course of Bongiovanni's career with the department, he was involved in 90 separate incidents -- including the "Involved Officer use of force" incident connected with Wednesday's traffic stop.
Bongiovanni's career was marked by two at-fault vehicle accidents -- one in 2000, and a second in 2001, for which he received a one-day suspension. One additional at-fault vehicle accident came in November 2014, resulting in the loss of his "Good Driving Record" with the department.
He was accused of exerting excessive force on five separate occasions, including Wednesday's incident. Additionally, in September 2002, Bongiovanni was accused of improper search and seizure of property. That claim was closed a month later.
In a May 1999 incident, a use of force investigation was closed without any action taken against Bongiovanni. An allegation stemming from an administrative incident in September 2000 was deemed to be unfounded. He was also accused of using excessive force in separate cases in October 2004 and April 2006 but was exonerated in each of those cases.
In June 2014, Bongiovanni was received a 15-day suspension (with the option to use 9 days of leave), as well as a 45-day suspension of extra-duty employment privileges after violations of departmental policies.
Initially, supervisory personnel requested that Bongiovanni be reduced two grades in rank from sergeant to police officer senior due to dereliction of his duties while managing the Highway Interdiction Team. The supervising lieutenant said that Bongiovanni routinely would go to the gym to work out for extended periods of time or do other things instead of supervising his team.
Bongiovanni appealed the decision to reduce his rank, which resulted in the suspension.
As a result of the termination of Bongiovanni and McDonald, some 89 cases involving the two officers were dismissed by the Gwinnett County Solicitor General's Office. These cases included both cases involving Demetrius Hollins, the victim in Wednesday evening's traffic stop.
The large number of commendations Bongiovanni has received from the Gwinnett County Police Department over his career include the High Shooter Award; multiple instances of the Distinguished Service Medal; multiple instances of the Physical Fitness Award; Accident Free Awards for multiple years; the Honorable Service Award for multiple years and the department's Purple Heart Medal.
Bongiovanni has also received interdepartmental commendations and thanks from the FBI, the DeKalb County Police Department and the Scottsbluff, Nebraska Police Department.
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