A Knoxville, Tennessee police officer was dismissed by the Knox County Sheriff after photos surfaced of the patrolman strangling a University of Tennessee student during an arrest near the site of a large party. The officer, 47-year-old Frank Phillips, choked 21-year-old Jarod Dotson while two other officers handcuffed him, until the student fell to his knees.
Dotson did not appear to be displaying any sign of resistance, and Phillips proceeded to slap him in his head a couple of times before walking off. Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones said in a statement posted on the Knox County Sheriff's Department website (which is down at the time of this writing), "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."
Jones added, "This incident provides a perfect example of why we are in the process of purchasing officer-worn body cameras (video and audio recordings) so incidents like this will be fully documented." The party near where the arrest occurred was attended by roughly 800 drunken coeds, some of which were throwing beer bottles at police officers.
The new police professionalism! http://t.co/VGMcK06C76
— Popehat (@Popehat) April 28, 2014
TN police choke unresistant student. Offending officer actually fired rather than being placed on paid leave: http://t.co/EAnPf3Gr5T
— YALiberty (@YALiberty) April 28, 2014
I swear it’s a daily occurrence this happens in the US? I would NEVER trust a US cop, seems so corrupt - http://t.co/sHPyvQcMKL
— Tobiias ♈ (@TobiiasGaming) April 28, 2014
Go Vols. (No seriously, thank you for firing this man.) http://t.co/bPGo1FAhkw
— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) April 28, 2014
I'm no expert on police policy, but I'd think choking handcuffed students unconscious is probably frowned upon. http://t.co/FVcQKW4CvW
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) April 27, 2014
Dotson was charged with public intoxication and resisting, and was released from custody after posting a $500 bail. Phillips, a police officer since 1992, was immediately dismissed after the photos surfaced, and the case has been handed to the Knox County Attorney General's Office to determine if any charges should be filed.
Police brutality, or the wanton use of excessive force by a police officer, is prevalent in the United States, with 26,556 citizen complaints made in 2002. Though, of those cases filed, only about 2000 were substantiated. Still, the New York City Police Department recently suffered a public relations fiasco with the Twitter #myNYPD debacle.
Here are some notable Tweets from the scandal.
— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) April 22, 2014
— Marie (@saraonabrick) April 23, 2014
Image via YouTube