FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A federal grand jury has indicted a former Fulton County detention officer who was seen on video choking a detainee until she passed out.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden has been following the developments in the case against Monique Clark since his arrest and firing back in June.
The 31-year-old was arrested on felony counts of aggravated assault and violation of oath by a public officer, along with a misdemeanor count of reckless conduct. On Thursday, a federal grand jury handed up an indictment on charges of using excessive force.
“We recognize that detention officers have a particularly challenging job as they work to maintain order and protect detainees in our district’s jails and prisons,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “However, this detention officer allegedly abused a handcuffed Fulton County detainee by strangling her and must be held accountable for such outrageous conduct.”
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The incident happened on June 5 in Alpharetta. On June 23 during Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m., Seiden walked viewers through recordings that were captured on the Alpharetta officers’ body cameras.
The videos show a woman who was arrested on charges of criminal trespass and public drunkenness being led out of an officer’s SUV in handcuffs.
In the video, an officer can be seen leading Casey Bennett into the booking area. Bennett is heard repeatedly shouting expletives at the officer and demanding that they let her call her mother.
Once inside, she can be heard shouting at the officer to take off her handcuffs and the officer warns her that if she kicks him, she will be charged with an additional crime. She never kicks the officer and she eventually sits down, continuing to shout at police and the detention officers.
When an unidentified detention officer asks her to get up and walk over to the body scanner before she’s booked in, Bennett can be heard shouting, “I will hurt you!” The detention officer shrugs and says “many have tried.”
The detention officers ask her again to step over to the body scanner and when she refuses to comply, they told her that they can do this the “easy way or hard way,” according to body camera footage.
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The detention officer remains calm as Bennett continues to shout expletives at her, threatening to hurt her. The detention officer can be seen walking back over to where Clark is standing and then seconds later, Clark helps Bennett out of the chair and walks her to the body scanner, where Clark is seen grabbing the back of her neck from behind.
“Don’t! Do not!” Bennett can be heard shouting.
The video shows Clark squeezing her neck with hands on the front and back of her neck.
“I advise you to cooperate,” Clark says as he applied pressure to her neck.
As Clark continues to choke her, Bennett appears to be in serious pain.
“Hold your face before you lose your breath,” added Clark. “The choice is yours!”
Seconds later, Bennett can be seen collapsing to the ground. She appears to be unconscious as her neck goes limp.
An officer can be heard asking her to stand up and she eventually regains consciousness but she appears dazed.
She’s unable to get back up on her feet and when officers ask her if she’s going to cooperate, she tells them that she doesn’t feel okay. She’s immediately taken to the medical staff at the jail and eventually transported by ambulance to the hospital.
After reviewing statements and body camera footage from the incident, Chief Robison declared that three of his officers involved in the incident did not violate department policy.
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