Henry County

Fired officer says he didn't choke former NFL player -- despite video admission

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A fired police officer who is accused of choking a former NFL player turned down a plea deal that would have avoided jail time.

David Rose acknowledged Wednesday that turning down the plea deal puts him at risk for prison if he's indicted for felonies.

He told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that he uttered words that on their face are an admission of key allegations but said he didn't mean them.

“I didn’t, I definitely didn’t intend to disgrace my badge or my patch,” Rose told Winne in an exclusive interview Wednesday. “It’s a snapshot. There's a lot more to this story than you can get in a snapshot.”

On Dec. 2, 2017, Rose arrested former professional football player Desmond Marrow while investigating a running dispute between Marrow and another driver.


The former officer acknowledged uttering words that have come back to haunt him, caught on the mic from his dashcam in the aftermath of the encounter.

"I'm not going to write it down, but hell yeah, I choked that (expletive)," Rose said on the dashcam video.

“You did not characterize in your report that you choked him?” Winne asked Rose.

[READ: Lawyer: Police tried to cover up excessive force during ex-NFL player's arrest]

“No, because I didn’t choke him,” Rose said. “When you are involved in those situations, the adrenaline and everything is just so heightened, and you sometimes say things as you’re coming down from these incidents, if you will,” Rose said.

“It was police bravado?” Winne asked Rose.

“Pretty much,” Rose answered.

Rose said he didn't remember saying the comments until confronted with it months later in a second internal investigation that led to his firing.

Rose said he did put in his report that he put his hand on Marrow's neck.

[READ: Officer fired over video showing him choking former NFL player during arrest]

“I was simply trying to hold onto this guy,” Rose said. “He was still struggling, and then he rolled over onto his back. At that point, my hand was on the front of his neck, still in an effort to hold him down to prevent him from head-butting me. Marrow shouted several times that he was not able to breathe, but as he was shouting, he was clearly breathing. As he was still on the ground, he laid his head over to one side and closed his eyes for a second or so as if he was passed out."

Marrow's attorney, L. Chris Stewart, said his client did nothing wrong and is a victim of excessive force.

Rose's lawyer, Lee Sexton, said Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo made Rose a fair offer if he was guilty: Plead no contest to a misdemeanor simple battery charge for no jail time, probation and community service.

Rose would also have to agree to never work as a police officer again.

On the morning he was to plead, Rose said he couldn’t do it.

“I have great respect for David,” Sexton said. “He did what he was trained to do, and now he’s being punished.”

Rose acknowledged the optics but told Winne that race played no role in the arrest. He maintains Marrow resisted.

A representative said the DA’s office was still exploring options concerning the possibility of taking Rose’s case to a grand jury for possible felony charges.

Stewart said Henry County should have investigated why two internal investigations were needed. A document referred to "recently discovered audio.”