Two Savannah cops fired for use of excessive force during arrest

The investigation has been referred to the district attorney.

August 12, 2020, 8:34 PM

The Savannah Police Department announced Wednesday that it terminated two of its officers following a three-month investigation into excessive force used in an arrest.

District Attorney Meg Heap told reporters at a news conference that she will call for a grand jury in September to look into the April incident involving Corporal Daniel Kang and Sergeant Octavio Arango. Heap, Savannah Police Department Chief Roy Minter and Mayor Van R. Johnson did not disclose specific details about the incident -- which was caught on body cameras -- but they did say excessive force was used during a warrant sweep on a suspect who, ultimately, was misidentified.

"Based on my review of the internal investigation and the video, I believe that the conduct of the two members of the Savannah Police Department during this particular incident was totally unacceptable and egregious behavior on their part," Minter said at the news conference.

Following the incident, the officers notified their supervisors about the use of force during the arrest, the Savannah Police Department said. The supervisors alerted internal affairs after reviewing the details of the incident and body camera footage, and the officers were put on administrative leave.

PHOTO: Sgt. Octavio "Mike" Arango and Cpl. Daniel Kang.
Sgt. Octavio "Mike" Arango and Cpl. Daniel Kang.
Savannah Police Department

In July, Minter recommended the officers be terminated for "conduct unbecoming of an officer," and other policy violations after reviewing the internal affairs report. The officers appealed but City Manager Pat Monahan upheld the termination orders.

Minter presented the evidence and body camera footage to the Savannah CARES Task Force, which was created last month by the mayor to review current use of force policies and internal affairs data in the police department.

"Last Friday, the CARES Task Force gathered in person and they reviewed the body cam video, and they made a recommendation to the chief that the actions of the officers warranted a referral to the district attorney's office," the mayor said.

Arango had been with the department for approximately 15 years and Kang for eight, according to the police department. Attorney information for the officers wasn't immediately available.

"We have worked hard to build a rapport with our community and want to strengthen that trust," Minter said in a statement.

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