WATCH: Video Shows Terminated Athens Officer Unjustified in Beating of UGA Student

An Athens-Clarke County police officer strikes an intoxicated University of Georgia student several times in the body with a baton. He then knocks the student to the ground with a baton blow to the head. As the student kneels down with his head almost touching the sidewalk, the student cries out in pain as he is struck two more times by the officer’s baton.

That is what video from the officer’s body camera shows of the encounter between Jonathan Fraser and Michael Roquet early the morning of June 13. The video provides evidence of why Fraser is no longer a cop. The 17-year veteran of the local police force last month was fired and is now facing felony charges of aggravated assault and violating his oath as a police officer.

The video, a copy of which was obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald, shows an encounter that unfolded much differently than how Fraser had described it in a police incident report. He wrote that Roquet was combative and resisted his attempts to arrest him on a public intoxication charge. Fraser wrote he had to use his baton to get Roquet to comply.

An internal investigation concluded Fraser lied and used excessive force in arresting Roquet. Among other things, according to police documents, the investigation obtained additional footage from a surveillance camera at a fraternity house where the incident occurred. Police said that video clearly shows Fraser striking Roquet in the head, an action which constituted the use of “deadly force.”

Athens-Clarke County Assistant Police Chief Carter Greene, then acting as interim chief, referred the matter to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which ultimately secured warrants charging Fraser with the two felonies.

The GBI would not release that video, as it is evidence in an ongoing criminal prosecution.

But the body camera footage, which is property of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, was made public by Scott Freeman, whose first day on the job as the county’s new police chief was July 6, three days after Fraser was fired.

“I have the philosophy that we really need to be more transparent with the public,” Freeman said. “Agencies across the country are quick to release body camera video when it exonerates an officer from wrongdoing, but they are reluctant to do so when the video implicates the officer. When there’s a use-of-force issue, I feel it is incumbent on us to release it.”

Freeman said after viewing both videos of Fraser’s encounter with the student, he concluded “it is very clear the escalation had gone into the realm of unauthorized use of force.”

“Officers are trained to de-escalate, and nothing the student did would have required use of force,” Freeman said. “Clearly, the student was intoxicated, but all of the officers, especially with (Fraser’s) level of experience, are trained to deal with these situations. Everything Fraser did ran counter to that training.”

The incident began at about 5 a.m. June 13, when an employee of Marriott Courtyard Athens Downtown called to report an intoxicated person was trespassing. Upon arrival, Fraser found Roquet on the hotel’s back patio, where he told the student he needed to leave. Roquet responded by saying he lived at the hotel “for years,” and also mentioned he once stayed at the Marriott when competing in wrestling competitions.

The officer told the student he wasn’t making sense and repeated his request for Roquet to leave.

In the body camera video, Roquet appears to be trying to make sense of the situation he’s in, telling the officer he wanted “clarification.” By now, Fraser had followed Roquet down some stairs into the parking lot of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house on West Broad Street. There, Roquet tells the officer, “Now you’re on my property.”

That’s when the situation starts to become more tense. In a sterner tone of voice, the officer tells the student to go inside the fraternity house and says, “I have to go back to work and you’re wasting my time.”

For full story visit: http://onlineathens.com/local-news-uga-mobile/2015-08-15/video-shows-terminated-athens-officer-unjustified-beating-uga

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5463 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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