Update: Two Gwinnett County police officers charged with battery, violation of oath

Update: Two Gwinnett County police officers have been charged following a video-taped incident at a traffic stop on April 12, 2017. Gwinnett County Police have charged Michael Bongiovanni, 42, and Robert McDonald, 25, each with felony violation of Oath of Office and misdemeanor battery.

Gwinnett County Police Department reportedly worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office during the investigation.

“The police department and its employees will continue to serve the citizens while maintaining our core values and highest level of professionalism,” said GCPD Chief Butch Ayers.

Update: Gwinnett County Police Department announce a second Gwinnett County Police Officer has been fired after a second video involving Wednesday’s traffic stop surfaced.

Michael Bongiovanni – Photo credit: Gwinnett County Police Department

“Sergeant Michael Bongiovanni has been terminated from the Gwinnett County Police Department and a second criminal investigation has been launched,” said Gwinnett County Police public information officer Col. Deon Washington said in a press release. “During the course of the internal investigation, a second video from a different angle was discovered by police on the internet. The video was contrary to what was reported by Michael Bongiovanni. The video was filmed by a witness and shows the man getting out of the car with both hands up. As he stands with his hands up, Michael Bongiovanni strikes the man in the face. The revelations uncovered in this entire investigation are shocking. We are fortunate that this second video was found and we were able to move swiftly to terminate a supervisor who lied and stepped outside of his training and state law.”

Washington said Michael Bongiovanni was hired September 1998 and graduated the police academy February 1999.

“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,” Washington said.

UPDATE:  Gwinnett County Police Department identified the officer involved in Wednesday’s incident alleging excessive use of force by a police officer and has fired him from the department. The officer has been identified as Robert McDonald, an officer who was hired August of 2013 and graduated from the police academy in March of 2014.

Robert McDoanld. Photo credit: Gwinnett County Police Department

“We have also launched a criminal investigation that will ultimately be sent to the District Attorney’s Office. What happened yesterday was clearly outside of state law and department policy. We do not tolerate actions that are not consistent with our core values or state law,” Gwinnett County Public Information Officer Cpl. Deon Washington said in a press release. “The investigation into this incident was initiated by the shift commander. The video was very crucial to the investigation and it confirmed that the force used was unnecessary and excessive. Robert McDonald stepped outside of the guiding principles of our agency, and as a result of his actions he was terminated less than 24 hours after the incident occurred. The actions by this former officer do not represent the officers of this department who dedicate their lives to serving the community on a daily basis.”

According to the incident report, McDonald was called to assist a supervisor with the traffic stop at the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday. After the incident captured on what was described as “very disturbing,” an ambulance was called to assist the man, identified as Demetrius Hollins. He had been stopped for having an incorrect license plate and the officer who stopped him reported a smell of marijuana. He was reportedly stopped in August last year for having marijuana and a loaded gun in the car, prompting the officer to call for backup. Prior to the alleged incident involving McDonald, the officer who stopped Hollis had tased him, reportedly for resisting arrest and because the officer allegedly feared he would reach for a weapon, which he was accused of doing in the 2016 arrest.

(Lawrenceville, Georgia) Gwinnett County Police Department report that an officer with the department is on administrative leave pending an investigation into claims that he was involved in a use of force complaint where a handcuffed man was kicked in the head.

“An ambulance responded to the scene and treated the man. The officer was responding as a backup officer to assist a supervisor with a traffic stop at the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway at Lawrenceville Suwanee Road,” said Cpl. Deon Washington in a press release from GCPD. “The video was captured on a cell phone by a witness in traffic.”

Washington said that after the arrest, the shift commander initiated an immediate investigation into the incident and the officer was placed on administrative leave. He also was relieved of  his department issued firearm and he was sent home.

“He will not be operating in a law enforcement capacity while this case is being investigated. The cell phone video is very disturbing and it speaks for itself. We will conduct a thorough investigation,” Washington said.

The story will be updated by the end of today according to Washington.


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