Charges filed against former Gwinnett officers in brutality case

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Two former Gwinnett County officers, who were fired after video showed them hitting and kicking a man during a traffic stop, have been charged. 

Both former officer Robert McDonald and Sgt. Mike Bongiovanni are charged with one misdemeanor charge of battery and one count each of violation of oath, which is a felony.

“We believe it’s important and the management of the police department believes it’s important that they move forward with the arrest warrant,” district attorney Danny Porter said.


RELATED STORIES:


The Gwinnett police department worked 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," chief Butch Ayers said.

Videos that surfaced on social media earlier this month showed Bongiovanni hit Demetrius Hollins in the face before McDonald kicked him in the head while he was on the ground in handcuffs.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where both officers appeared to act without justification,” Porter said.

Hollins said he constantly thinks about his encounter with the former officers.

“I’ve just been having nightmares and in my head and it’s just like, what could I have done that would have not let this happen to me?” he said.

The officers have until the end of the business day Thursday to turn themselves in.

Channel 2’s Tony Thomas met with Hollins and his attorney to talk about the charges.

“We are glad that charges are filed. Something happened. But we would have like to have seen something different, possibly greater charges against both officers. There are multiple violations of my client’s civil rights, more serious than misdemeanor charges and we hope that the investigation is ongoing and other charges will follow,”

Porter said more serious charges, including felonies, are being considered as witness statements and reports come in. Prosecutors said after talking with witnesses and reviewing the tape, they saw that McDonald appeared to have his gun drawn, which could move the battery charge to aggravated assault.

“Once the reports are over in my office, we will have the opportunity to review some more of the potential charges,” Porter said.

He said additional charges could come within days.

Bond has been set at $15,000 for each of the former officers. 

 

Next Up: