5 Georgia officers indicted in metro man’s 2019 Henry County death

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Five officers have been indicted more than two years after a Clayton County man died after being Tased and held down.

Fernando Rodriguez, 24, died outside the Atlanta Motor Speedway in September 2019 after he had just attended a concert called “Imagine Fest.”

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Body camera footage from the day he died shows a fully-naked Rodriguez walking away from police officers when they began firing their Tasers at him.

The Henry County District Attorney’s Office says Rodriguez was Tased more than a dozen times.

The D.A.’s office adds that Rodriguez’s cause of death was asphyxiation as a result of officers holding down his naked body.

A Henry County grand jury indicted the five officers involved in the incident on Friday. Henry County police officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips and former Hampton police officers Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud and Gregory Bowlden are each charged with one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of violation of oath of office.

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Rodriguez’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Henry County, the City of Hampton and each of the five officers in May.

“My brother was a happy person,” said his brother, Kevin Rodriguez. “He was full of light. He was always smiling. He’s always telling me to be cheerful, to be the (one) to smile, be strong. For all of us.”

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Hampton City Manager Alex Cohilas said Bowlden and Lewis resigned from the department in August 2021 and Stroud resigned in October 2019, less than a month after Rodriguez’s death.

It is unclear at this time if Butera and Phillips remain employed with the Henry County Police Department.

The Henry County D.A.’s office says warrants for the officers’ arrests will be issued this week.