Man kicked by Gwinnett officers while handcuffed files suit over use of excessive force

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A man has filed a federal lawsuit against Gwinnett County after witness video showed two police officers kick him while he was handcuffed.

Demetrius Hollins, now 26, said the 2017 run-in with police left him traumatized.

For the first time, his legal team allowed him to speak publicly on Wednesday after filing a federal lawsuit.

Hollins said he’s still suffering from the impacts of the incident. Now, he wants the officers and county to pay.

“I still have some type of PTSD from this situation,” Hollins said.

Four years ago, Hollins was in the turn lane of Sugarloaf Parkway at Lawrenceville Suwanee Road when he was stopped by then-Gwinnett police Officer Michael Bongiovanni.

What happened next led the veteran sergeant to lose his job and face criminal charges.

“I would thank those that stood up for me and fought for me right beside me through this tough time,” Hollins said.


A second officer was recorded kicking a handcuffed Hollins in the head. He was fired and found guilty last year.

“I intended to use my foot to push his shoulder down, and I brought my foot down when he moved,” former officer Robert McDonald said previously.

“I believe the Gwinnett County DA’s Office did the best at prosecuting the two officers who terrorized me that day,” Hollins said.

Now Hollins and his legal team are asking that the former officers, Gwinnett County and its former police chief pay for the actions and what the lawsuit calls “unlawful seizure and use of excessive force.”

The county told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas that it won’t comment on pending litigation.

“The repercussions for Gwinnett County are even deeper. The district attorney has had to dismiss 89 cases because of this situation,” attorney L. Christ Stewart said.

Thomas checked with the federal court Wednesday. The former officers and chief, along with the county, have until next month to reply in court to the lawsuit.