A grand jury indicted five Georgia police officers on murder charges Friday for the asphyxiation death of a concertgoer in 2019.
The five are accused of confronting 24-year-old Fernando Rodriguez, who was walking naked along a road after attending the Imagine Concert Music Festival at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 20, 2019.
Rodriguez died from asphyxiation after officers zapped him with a stun gun, then held him down and handcuffed him as pressure was applied to his body, reports said.
Officials said that while they held his naked body down on the ground, the officers shocked Rodriguez more than a dozen times with their stun guns. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he later died, according to the charges against them.
Henry County police officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips, and Hampton police officers Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud and Gregory Bowlden were each charged with one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault, officials announced Saturday.
In addition, each officer will face with one count of violating their oaths as law enforcement officers for “stretching Rodriguez out on the ground in a prone position while he was handcuffed and shackled, holding him down and applying pressure to his body,” the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Saturday. Warrants will be issued for the officers’ arrests next week, according to the statement.
According to NBC., the three Hampton officers have all resigned since the incident: Stroud on Oct. 16, 2019, and Bowlden and Lewis both on Aug. 5 of this year. The status of the county officers was not known.