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Georgia Man Receives $400K Settlement After Almost Five Years After He Was Punched, Kicked In Face While Handcuffed After He Tried To Record His Traffic Stop

A Black man who was beaten by two Atlanta-area police officers almost 5 years ago have settled with Gwinnett County. Justin Miller and Dianna Lee said in an email statement  sent on Jan. 11, regarding the $400,000 settlement they got for their client, WJCL reported. “We are pleased that Gwinnett County has opted to resolve the lawsuit brought by Demetrius Hollins” the statement said.

“This settlement, which represents the final chapter in the quest for justice for Mr. Hollins, is one of the largest in Gwinnett County history for an incident of this nature. We will continue to hold officers and their departments accountable when they violate their oath to protect and serve their constituents” the statement adds.

Hollins filed the lawsuit in September 2021, alleging that during a traffic stop on April 12, 2017, former police Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni and former Master Police Officer Robert McDonald pulled him over and, in retaliation for recording the incident, used excessive force by punching and kicking him in the face while he lay on the ground handcuffed.

During a press conference last year, Hollins says he still has “some kind of PTSD from this situation.” Hollins was 22 at the time when he was stopped in Lawrenceville, a city right outside  ofAtlanta. Video footage captured by witnesses showed Bongiovanni punching the young man, although he stood with his hands visible and in the air while getting out the car. A second witness video showed McDonald running and kicking Hollins in the head.

“I don’t want anyone else to experience the pain and horror I did,” Hollins said in a statement after the filing the statement. “My hope is that this lawsuit serves as a reminder that members of law enforcement need to treat people with respect. I shouldn’t be receiving justice simply because of a video.”

Hollins suffered severe burn marks to the back of his neck, a busted lip, severe swelling and bruising to most of his face due to the incident. This has caused permanent scarring to his chin, nose and lower lip.

Both men were terminated the next day after the incident in the Gwinnett County Police Department. Bongiovanni ultimately pleaded no contest to battery and aggravated assault charges in 2019, and was ordered to serve six months in a work-release program, followed by a 10-year probation sentence for exchanging or testifying against McDonald, who also got 10 years of probation.

This content was originally published here.

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