Officer who choked former football player during violent arrest is fired
Posted May 10, 2018 1:28 p.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2018 4:28 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — A Georgia police officer who choked former NFL prospect Desmond Marrow during an arrest in December has been fired, officials said.
On Thursday, Henry County Police Chief Mark Amerman said the officer's employment was terminated after an internal affairs investigation revealed his use of force was unnecessary. The officer, David Rose, was recorded on his in-car video camera saying he choked Marrow, Amerman said, and intended to leave that information out of his police report recounting the incident.
CNN's attempts to reach Rose for comment have been unsuccessful. The police union has also not responded to CNN's requests for comment or confirmation that they represent Rose.
The actions of another officer who was involved were found to be within department policy, Amerman said.
The Henry County District Attorney's Office announced it was dismissing a felony charge of obstruction of an officer against Marrow. And misdemeanor charges, including reckless and aggressive driving, are under review by the office of the solicitor general, said District Attorney Darius Pattillo.
"We have reviewed the police reports, witness statements, 911 calls, audio and videos, as well as interviewed witnesses, and determined there is insufficient evidence to present any felony charges to a grand jury," Patillo said.
The DA's office continues to investigate officers' use of force, the statement added.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Marrow and his attorneys said Henry County "got it right," and commended Amerman and Patillo for how they've handled their investigations.
Marrow said he was "very happy" with the outcome and that he forgave Henry County police, noting that "people make mistakes. They're human."
"I just want to say the situation is bigger than me," said Marrow, who is black. "I speak for the people that have been in the same predicament and they've died or they're not here to talk about the situation. So it's a win and it's a victory for their moms, for their families, along with my mom and my family, too."
Chris Stewart, one of his attorneys, said they still want to see criminal charges brought against the officer who choked Marrow.
Marrow posted video of the incident to social media late last month. In it, Marrow, 30, is handcuffed and is slammed into a truck by Henry County police officers. One officer lifts his leg and he falls to the ground with the officers on top of him.
The other officer then put his hand on Marrow's neck, while he screams multiple times, "I can't breathe!"
The alleged road rage incident
The arrest stemmed from an alleged road rage incident Marrow was involved in south of Atlanta, according to a police report.
Marrow said that he was following a car after two white men yelled a racial slur at him and he was splashed by hot coffee thrown against his car door.
He said he told police he was trying to follow the men so he could get their license plate and talk to the men.
But the report says one of the men claiming to be in the other car, told police that Marrow followed him closely, tried to hit his car with the pickup and threw a rock that dented a door on his vehicle.
Marrow told CNN that he was handcuffed as police searched his car for 30 minutes, looking for a gun. He said he gave permission to conduct the search and cooperated with officers. According to the police report, no weapons were found.
When officers went to arrest Marrow, he refused to put his hands behind his back until he was told the officer was going to use a Taser, the report says.
One of the arresting officers says Marrow attempted to kick the other cop, who was trying to get Marrow to spread his legs.
Marrow was taken to the ground because "he was struggling" with the officers, the report says. They allege he also attempted to head-butt and kick the officers.
Marrow, who tried out for two NFL teams but never made a regular season roster, has denied making any threats.