Officer pleads guilty in Georgia traffic stop of Black man

Prosecutors say a former Atlanta area police officer who acknowledged choking a Black man during a 2017 traffic stop will never work in law enforcement again

BySudhin Thanawala Associated Press
September 28, 2020, 3:32 PM

ATLANTA -- A former Atlanta area police officer who acknowledged choking a Black man during a 2017 traffic stop will never work in law enforcement again after pleading guilty Monday to a charge of simple battery, prosecutors said.

As part of his sentence, David Rose surrendered his law enforcement certification, the district attorney's office in Henry County said in a news release announcing the plea deal. A judge also sentenced Rose to a year of probation and 40 hours of community service and required that he complete an anger management class.

Rose, who is white, was fired from the Henry County Police Department after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force during the arrest of Desmond Marrow on Dec. 2, 2017. Video posted online shows Rose put his hand on Marrow’s throat for several seconds. Marrow says, “I can’t breathe,” while another officer tells him to settle down.

Rose also was recorded on his in-car video camera system saying that he had choked Marrow and that he wasn’t going to include that information in his report, Henry County Police Chief Mark Amerman said in 2018 when Rose’s firing was announced.

“Through his revealing words and actions, David Rose tarnished the badge that represents all the honorable and brave men and women who serve in law enforcement," Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo said in a statement Monday. He added, “I am satisfied that he has been held accountable for his actions against Desmond Marrow.”

Marrow played football at the University of Toledo. He signed a contract in 2012 with the Houston Texans but was cut in the preseason.

The arrest affected his marriage and gym business, Marrow said Monday during an online news conference with attorneys representing him in a lawsuit against Henry County. But he said that, unlike George Floyd, he lived to see his child again.

“I learned to just not take those things for granted,” he said.

Floyd died May 25 after a white police officer pressed a knee against the handcuffed Black man's neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

Marrow's attorneys praised the plea deal and sentence — particularly the requirement that Rose surrender his law enforcement certification — and called on county officials to reach a settlement with Marrow.

Rose was responding to a report that Marrow and the driver of another vehicle were driving aggressively in the parking lot of a Target store in McDonough, a city about 30 miles (48km) southeast of Atlanta, according to the district attorney's office.

In a one-minute video clip of the arrest, officers can be seen forcefully taking a handcuffed Marrow to the ground by sweeping his legs out from under him as he yells, “I’m not even fighting back.” Rose puts his hand on Marrow’s throat after Marrow is on the ground. An attorney for Marrow, Andrea Boyd, said her client lost consciousness.

Marrow was arrested on charges including terroristic threats and felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer. A magistrate judge dismissed the terroristic threats charge, and Pattillo dismissed the felony obstruction charge.

A grand jury indictment also charged Rose with violating the oath of a public officer, false official writings and making a false statement. These charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal, the district attorney's office said.

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