Five Georgia officers have been indicted on murder charges in the asphyxiation death of a festivalgoer near Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2019, prosecutors said Friday.
Fernando Rodriguez, 24, was naked and walking on a road after attending the Imagine Music Festival at the track in Hampton, Georgia, on Sept. 20, 2019.
when the officers confronted him, used a stun gun and then piled on.
According to the Henry County District Attorney’s Office and edited body-camera video.
He died at a hospital days later, and a state medical examiner ruled his death homicide by asphyxiation.
After two days of testimony, a county grand jury returned an indictment for each of the five officers Friday on one count of malice murder.
Two counts of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault, the DA’s office said.
The grand jury also charged each officer with one count of violation of oath office, according to the DA’s office.
They were identify as Henry County police officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips.
Hampton police officers Marcus Stroud, Gregory Bowlden and Mason Lewis.
Stroud resigned from the department Oct. 16, 2019, and Bowlden and Lewis resigned this year on Aug. 5.
Hampton City Manager Alex Cohilas said. The status of the county officers was not clear. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in May that they were still employe as police.
The indicted officers could not be reach through law enforcement organizations.
Their departments did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Arrest warrants for the officers were likely to be issued next week, the DA’s office said.
Cohilas said by email that the city of Hampton was cooperating with the district attorney.
In light of the indictments and ongoing criminal litigation into this matter, the City will not be commenting further at this time.”
The speedway is in Hampton, in the southeastern metro Atlanta area that is a part of Henry County.
Page A. Pate, an attorney for Rodriguez’s family, said in a statement Saturday that his survivors were please with the indictment.
“Fernando’s family has been patiently waiting for justice in this case and they are very glad to see that the process is now moving forward.
Pate said. “We are especially grateful that the officers have all been charge with murder and we think the charges fit the crime.”
The DA’s office said the officers violated their oath “by stretching Rodriguez out on the ground in a prone
He was also subject to more than a dozen stun-gun shocks, prosecutors said.
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Rodriguez was leaving the electronic dance music festival when the confrontation happened, prosecutors said.
Georgia It’s not clear why Rodriguez was naked.
Lawyers for his family have said he was in need of medical attention before police reached him.
Fernando Rodriguez is tasered by Hampton County police officers in 2019.Pate, Johnson & Church Law Firm
Edited body camera video of the confrontation provided by lawyers for Rodriguez’s family show an officer using a stun gun aimed at his back as he walked away from police.
An officer threatened to kick his teeth as he was on the ground, according to the recording.
The video also shows the man groaning on the ground. Officers can be seen using stun-guns when Rodriguez didn’t immediately response to orders.
including commands to lie on his stomach.
A federal wrongful death lawsuit alleged that one of the officers called Rodriguez a “sweaty little hog.”
The suit names the officers, the city of Hampton and Henry County Georgia .
Pate and partner Jess B. Johnson filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on behalf of the Rodriguez’s parents.
Octavio Rodriguez Cira and Fabiola Merlos Martinez, and his sibling Octavio Rodriguez.
Pate said the settlement amount was $3 million.