A local police chief says he has “serious concerns” after watching a video of an ex-NFL player being wrestled to the ground – and combing through another 45 minutes of information from the same incident.
The incident happened in December in this parking lot near I-75. It’s where a motorist said he confronted two young white men who had hollered racial slurs at him. The motorist, Desmond Marrow, said he never touched them.
But when Henry County police arrived, they handcuffed Marrow – then the video shows them forcing him to the ground and forcing their hands on his throat.
Henry County Police Chief Mark Amerman said there’s a lot more to the incident that left Desmond Marrow on the ground gasping for air. And he's looking through much of it - as are other investigators and the district attorney's office.
“Our officers were out there for over 45 minutes,” he said. “We’ve seen video from 10 seconds, so there’s a lot more to this case than what’s been portrayed on Facebook and what’s been released on social media.”
The video, posted to Facebook, appears to show Marrow being slammed to the ground before being pinned into a position and apparently passing out.
In the video, Marrow appears to be handcuffed. With his hands cuffed behind his back, one officer lifts his right leg and they throw him to the ground.
One officer can be seen kneeling near Marrow's head and grabbing him by the throat. At one point, Marrow can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”
Amerman said the video gives him pause.
“Over the course of this investigation, there was an initial use of force investigation,” Amerman said. “Sometime after that, I found new facts that disturbed me greatly. That’s why I ordered the investigation."
Amerman said his department launched the investigation earlier in the month - before the video of Marrow’s encounter with police went viral.
In a press conference, he said that his goal is to get to the truth and plans to release more information as soon as the investigation ends. That investigation will include looking at dashcam video and additional cell phone video.
“As we continue this investigation, and we find mistakes, we will own them,” Amerman said. “We are not perfect and we do not pretend to be. However, we hold ourselves accountable.”
Marrow, a former NFL player, spoke to us after a couple hundred supporters rallied on his behalf in a local church.
"It was probably the worst thing I’d ever been through," he said. "I didn’t know if I was going to pass out or if I was going to die while he was choking me."
Supporters are demanding that both officers be terminated immediately. And while the police chief says he wants to get to the bottom of the incident, he said he must uphold the due process rights of his officers as well.
Police indicated the investigation may take another couple of weeks – or more. In the meantime, Marrow is facing charges of obstructing an officer and reckless driving.