A Tennessee policeman was promptly fired Monday after a freelance photographer released pictures of the officer choking a local University of Tennessee student until he fell to his knees.
Photos of the initially unidentified officer now revealed to be 47-year-old Frank Phillips were published by British newspaper The Daily Mail after the arrest Saturday night. The man who captured the incident, John Messner, said the student was not resisting arrest, Reuters reports
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Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones said in a statement posted on the Knox County Sheriff's Department website, "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 confirmed that Phillips was immediately fired and the investigation would be turned over to the Knox County Attorney General's Office to determine any subsequent charges.
Phillips had been with the department since 1992, and was named officer of the month twice in recent years.
The student, 21-year-old Jarod Dotson, was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest after attending a block party that reportedly swelled to 800 attendants and crowded the streets. Local media reported that beer bottles were thrown at officers upon their arrival.
Dotson and the university declined to comment when asked about the incident by local reporters. He was released on $500 bond Sunday morning.
"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," Jones concluded.
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