5 Cops Indicted on Charges of Murdering Man

Current and former officers indicted in 2019 death
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2021 3:00 AM CST
5 Cops Indicted on Charges of Murdering Man
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Thinkstock)

(Newser) – Five current and former Georgia police officers were indicted Monday on murder charges related to the 2019 death of a man in police custody outside the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Arrest warrants were issued for Henry County Police Department officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips and former Hampton Police Department officers Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud, and Gregory Bowlden, CNN reports. A grand jury charged them each with one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, and violation of oath of office. The incident started after a passerby called 911 to report a naked man outside a concert being held at the speedway, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Fernando Rodriguez, 24, can be seen on bodycam footage walking down the middle of the street after leaving the Imagine Music Festival, naked, before officers tased him more than a dozen times when he didn't stop as ordered. He was then, in violation of state law, placed "on the ground in a prone position, while he was handcuffed and shackled" and officers were "holding him down and applying pressure to his body," according to the indictment. They allegedly kneeled on him in the street for 10 minutes, and waited for an ambulance after realizing he'd stopped breathing rather than rendering aid immediately. He died two days later of asphyxiation. The City of Hampton has settled a lawsuit with Rodriguez's family for $3 million, the family's lawyer says, and Henry County is expected to settle a suit with them as well. (Read more Georgia stories.)

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