Former Gwinnett County, Georgia police sergeant Michael Bongiovanni, 44, pleaded no contest on Tuesday to aggravated assault and battery charges. Bongiovanni took a plea deal after being recorded in April 2017 punching a black man in the face during a traffic stop. As part of the deal, Bongiovanni will also testify against the other former officer involved, Robert McDonald.
The two were fired a day after the 2017 incident.
Bongiovanni is getting 10 years probation. He will spend the next five months on a work release program and an additional five months under home confinement. McDonald’s trial date has not officially been set yet, but it may occur in the Fall. The no contest (nolo contendere) plea means Bongiovanni made no admission of guilt.
Here’s Bongiovanni’s mugshot:
The former cops were arrested in April 2017 after video surfaced of Bongiovanni punching Demetrius Hollins in the face during a traffic stop. McDonald arrived on scene and stomped on Hollins while he was on the ground. Witnesses said McDonald had his gun drawn during the incident. Bongiovanni argued that he responded so aggressively due to a previous encounter with Hollins.
“I wish this never happened to me,” Hollins said to reporters at the time of the incident.
Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter said after the officers were arrested that he did not believe Bongiovanni recognized Hollins “when they were out on the street.”
“[H]e refreshed his memory from a previous report, and then wrote a report to indicate he was in a heightened sense of danger,” Porter said.
The repercussions of this case were not limited to legal troubles for the ex-cops. After Bongiovanni and McDonald were fired, former Gwinnett County Solicitor General Rosanna Szabo dismissed 89 cases that they were involved in.
[Image via Gwinnett County Police Department]
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