A black man said he was arrested in Georgia for possessing a firearm — which he said, in reality, was his cellphone — and that police officers slammed him to the ground and choked him until he passed out.
The man, 30-year-old Desmond Marrow, posted a video Thursday on Facebook, showing what appeared to be three white Henry County police officers taking him to the ground and pinning him down as he cried and screamed, telling them that he was not resisting.
“During the arrest the police knocked my teeth out, slammed me on my head and choked me out until I was unconscious,” he wrote in the Facebook post.
It’s unclear in the video whether Marrow lost consciousness.
He said he also suffered a shoulder strain and a concussion.
“This has affected me mentally and impacted my life in a way I can’t even humanly describe,” Marrow wrote. “This isn’t a cry for sympathy, I just need it to be known . . . My cry is for JUSTICE.”
In the Facebook post, Marrow asked social media users to help give him a voice, writing, “PLEASE HELP ME GET MY VOICE HEARD!!!” Marrow’s past as a professional football player might help him do just that.
Marrow was listed on the preseason roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, according to NFL.com.
WXIA reports that the arrest may have been in response to an altercation between Marrow and another driver. The station described a Dec. 2 police report, which stated that someone in another vehicle had tossed coffee at Marrow’s car and he chased the car into a shopping center outside Atlanta.
The report said that a police officer witnessed the incident and responded to the scene, where a witness said he overheard Marrow threatening to “shoot them,” according to the station.
It said that officers asked Marrow whether he had a gun and he said no, and that the officers could not find one in his possession.
Still, the station reported, officers arrested him on the allegation that he threatened harm. He was later charged with making terroristic threats, reckless driving and aggressive driving, according to the report.
It’s unclear when the video was filmed, but in it, a police officer can be heard warning Marrow that he has a stun gun.
“I’m not even doing nothing. I’m not even fighting back,” Marrow, who appeared to be handcuffed, shouted as two officers slammed him against a white pickup truck. One of the officers held Marrow’s arms behind his back and the other officer pulled his legs out from under him, swiftly taking him to the ground.
Marrow cried out as his body hit the concrete.
“Oh, my God,” he said, weeping. “I didn’t even do nothing.”
A bystander who appeared to be filming the scene said, “That’s unbelievable, man.”
As Marrow continued to struggle and scream at the officers, one of them pressed down on his throat. Marrow made choking sounds and told the officers in a panicked, high-pitched voice, “I can’t breathe.”
A third officer then knelt down and told him to “settle down.”
Following the incident, one of the police officers patted him on the chest, saying, “You okay?”
Marrow wrote on Facebook that he showed “ZERO resistance” during the arrest:
“I thought I was going to die. I was sure I was passing out or dying when Officer #D.Rose was choking me as my breath kept slipping away. Henry county police dept was trying to keep me quiet, but once they found out I was a former #NFLplayer & there was a video of the incident did they then try to drop my charges. They were basically trying to get me to sell my soul in exchange for the video not being posted and they would drop all the felonies and clear my record. They said I was resisting arrest, being out of control, spitting and assaulting the Officers by head butting them. But GOD recorded it and I have PROOF! You know the truth take a lil longer to make it around lies travel faster.”
Police could not immediately be reached for comment Friday morning by The Washington Post. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that an officer has been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation, and that the county district attorney is looking into the incident as well.
“Although at the time of arrest an initial use of force review was conducted by internal affairs, earlier this month police Chief Mark Amerman ordered an internal affairs investigation to be conducted,” Henry County police Capt. Joey Smith said Friday afternoon. “As of today, the officer involved is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.”
“Our office is aware of the December arrest of Desmond Marrow and we are investigating it,” Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo said in a statement Friday, according to the Journal-Constitution. “In addition to the criminal case, my office will conduct an investigation parallel to the Henry County Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigation. … We are looking at the full video of the incident captured by witnesses, as well as police dash cameras, witness statements, police reports and all other evidence. Once the investigation is complete, we will be able to release further details about the incident.”
Marrow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.