Officer fired after kicking handcuffed man

WSBTV screenshot

Two police officers in Georgia were fired Thursday, less than 24 hours after cell phone videos surfaced of them punching and kicking a motorist in handcuffs.

Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni (left) and Master Police Officer Robert McDonald were fired.

Video posted online appears to show 21-year-old student Demetrius Hollins being kicked by Officer Robert McDonald of the Gwinnett County Police Department while lying on the ground in handcuffs.

One video showed one perspective of the Wednesday traffic stop in Gwinnett County.

Witnesses say they were stunned after watching a police officer punch and kick a man in broad daylight during a traffic stop.

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"We're going to allow the Gwinnett County Police Department do their investigation and when we find out more, we'll tell you more, but right now we want to get him to the hospital and get him checked out", Miller said.

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

Now, both former officers could face criminal charges after two cellphone videos captured the alleged attacks.

The Gwinnett County Police Department has described the revelations uncovered so far as "shocking".

"We think they knew", Miller said.

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Bongiovanni said he verbally ordered Hollins to exit the auto several times and threatened to use his Taser but the man refused.

In his police report, Bongiovanni said Hollins' vehicle didn't have a license plate and that he didn't immediately pull over. He also wrote in his report that he could smell marijuana coming from the driver and that Hollins refused to cooperate.

The other video shows Bongiovanni yelling at the suspect and handcuffing him, before McDonald shows up and stomps Hollins in the head.

Bongiovanni was terminated shortly after the release of the footage for excessive use of force and falsifying a police report. A working phone number couldn't immediately be located for him, and it wasn't clear whether he has an attorney who could comment. Ayers told local media that he is "literally sickened" by the event, and the firing of these officers was in no way debated after news made its way back to him of what had happened.

Bongiovanni wrote that Hollins wouldn't stop for him and only came to a complete stop once his Acura stalled out.

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According to jail records, Hollins faced charges relating to a number of traffic offenses such as driving without and license and small possession of marijuana but was released later on Thursday afternoon. He'd been a part of the south precinct's community response team and was named officer of the month several times. But the officer who responded to the accident said in a letter to the department's safety review committee that it would have been very hard for McDonald to avoid the wreck.

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