ATLANTA (AP) — A former suburban-Atlanta police officer who was fired last year after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force during the arrest of a former college football player has been charged with simple battery.
The Henry County district attorney's office said in an email Friday that former county police officer David Rose was charged this week. The court document charging Rose says he "did intentionally make physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature to Desmond Marrow by grabbing him by the neck and choking him."
Rose's lawyer, Lee Sexton, said Rose has decided not to contest the simple battery charge, saying the state's power to threaten serious felony charges led Rose to that decision.
"He will not plea guilty to any charge, but has decided to plea no contest for reasons we will place on the record in court," Sexton wrote in an email. "I believe Henry County has lost the services of a professional and experienced law enforcement officer who was protecting and serving the citizens."
Rose arrested Marrow on Dec. 2, 2017, while responding to calls of a road-rage situation. Video of the arrest generated a lot of attention after it was posted online last year.
In the one-minute clip, officers can be seen forcefully taking a handcuffed Marrow to the ground by sweeping his legs out from under him as he yells, "I'm not even fighting back." When he's on the ground, an officer puts his hand on Marrow's throat for several seconds and Marrow says, "I can't breathe," while another officer tells him to settle down.
Rose was recorded on his in-car video camera system saying that he had choked Marrow and that he wasn't going to include that information in his report, Henry County police Chief Mark Amerman said in May when Rose's firing was announced.
Marrow is black and Rose is white.
Marrow played football at the University of Toledo in Ohio but wasn't drafted out of college. He signed a contract in 2012 with the Houston Texans but was cut during preseason. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him up but he didn't make the team.
Marrow was arrested on charges of terroristic threats, felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, reckless driving and aggressive driving.
A magistrate judge dismissed the terroristic threats charge, and District Attorney Darius Pattillo dismissed the felony obstruction charge. The traffic-related misdemeanor charges were turned over to the county solicitor general for review. The solicitor general didn't return a call Friday seeking the status of those charges.
Lawyers for Marrow filed a lawsuit in August against the county and county and police officials. It alleges the officers violated his rights and that police and elected officials covered that up. In a court filing in September, lawyers for the county and for the police and county officials denied the allegations. The case remains pending.
Marrow's attorneys, L. Chris Stewart, Andrea Price Boyd and Gerald Griggs, released a statement Friday saying they are pleased Rose has been charged.
"It is a historic day for civil rights and justice, showing all people that you will be held accountable even if you wear a badge and break the law," the statement says. "We pray that the Henry County Board of Commissioners also resolves the civil lawsuit regarding their charged former officer and heal the community fully."