Officer fired after punching man who had hands up wants job back - CBS46 News

Officer fired after punching man who had hands up wants job back

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Two Gwinnett County, GA officers were fired after video shows them punching and kicking a man who has his hands up and was handcuffed during an arrest. (SOURCE: Social Media) Two Gwinnett County, GA officers were fired after video shows them punching and kicking a man who has his hands up and was handcuffed during an arrest. (SOURCE: Social Media)
GWINNETT COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

A fired Gwinnett County officer caught on video punching a man who had his hands up in the face wants his job back.

Former Police Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni's attorney said his client has the backing of nearby police departments and some people in his own department and the Gwinnett County community who feel his termination was "rushed and incorrect".

Attorney Mike Puglise said his client contends the move he used, an elbow to the face of Demetrius Hollins when Hollins had stepped out of his vehicle with his hands up, was a formal police defense tactic.

Bongiovanni, who had served on the police force for nearly 20 years, has filed an appeal in his firing.



Officers fired after punching, stomping man who was handcuffed

Bongiovanni and Officer Robert McDonald were both terminated the same day videos surfaced of them arresting Hollins following a traffic stop. Police said there is now a criminal investigation into both officers' behavior.

Police said the video, shot by an eyewitness and posted on social media contradicts what Bongiovanni put in a report following the arrest.

An earlier video from a bystander McDonald kicking Hollins in the head after he was handcuffed, while he was lying on the ground.

McDonald was responding as a backup officer to assist Bongiovanni with a traffic stop at the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway at Lawrenceville Suwannee Road.

The department's shift commander said he initiated an immediate investigation after the incident. After the incident, the police department also said they seized his issued firearm and sent him home.

McDonald, who had been on the force since August of 2013, was later terminated from the department. Once the second video surfaced, Bongiovanni was also fired. Bongiovanni was hired September 1998 and graduated the police academy February 1999.

According to an incident report, Hollins didn't have a valid license plate and failed to signal during several lane changes.

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