Usually, after charges of police brutality, police officials take their time reacting while they follow procedure to determine who did what. But this episode in Knoxville, Tenn., was so extreme and well-documented that the local sheriff fired the officer immediately.
Frank Phillips, a Knox County Sheriffs officer, was fired Sunday night after a series of pictures taken by photographer John Messner were published in theDaily Mailin Britain. They showed an officer identified by the Sheriffs Office as Phillips grabbing 21-year-old college student Jarod Dotson around the neck and squeezing him until he fell to his knees.
An officer identified by the Sheriffs office as Frank Phillips is seen choking college student Jarod Dotson while he was being arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest. (John Messner)
WBIR reportsthat law enforcement responded to a disturbance near the University of Tennessee where a house party with about 800 people had reportedly become unruly and spilled out into the street.
According to a police report, Dotson ignored repeated instructions to go inside,the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.Deputy Brandon Gilliam wrote in the official report that Dotsonbegan to physically resist officers instructions to place his hands behind his back, and at one point grabbed on to an officers leg.
Messner, a freelance photographer who documented the incident, told The Washington Post that Dotson showed no signs of resisting arrest.
Messners still pictures, arranged by The Post in the GIF below, show two officers cuffing Dotsons hands behind his back when Phillips came over and choked Dotson until he collapsed to his knees. Messner said that as Dotson was being pulled up he was smacked in the back of the head, a snap-out-of-it kinda smack under the circumstances.
An officer identified by the Sheriffs Office as Frank Phillips is seen choking college student Jarod Dotson while he was being arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest. (John Messner)
Jarod Dotson was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was released from jail on a $500 bond Sunday morning.
In apress releaseon Sunday night, Sheriff Jimmy J.J. Jones said:
In my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has never been tolerated. After an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, I believe excessive force was used in this incident. The investigation will now be turned over to the Knox County Attorney Generals Office to determine any further action.
Fired immediately. For once they did the right thing.