Barely a week goes by without some kind of escalation between cops and college kids, whether it’s a “riot” or just a party that draws the attention of the SWAT team and later every blog online.
We’re not sure if college students are wilder now than in years past, or if police officers are just more likely to pepper spray party-goers. What doesn’t seem to be in question, though, is that everyone has a phone and, therefore, a camera now, so any particularly brutal interactions between the two sides can, and frequently do, reach an audience of millions.
Sometimes this is a bad thing: reputations can be destroyed by an out-of-context video, schools like Cortland now have “riot” as a Google Autocomplete possibility. But sometimes it’s a good thing—like when an unresisting student is choked out by a cop, a freelance photographer captures the whole disturbing scene, and the pictures cause the officer to be fired immediately.
This all happened during the aftermath of a house party at the University of Tennessee early Sunday morning. Frank Phillips, a 20+ year veteran of the Knox County sheriff’s department, essentially assaulted a 21-year-old kid, Jarod Dotson, only to see the incident be published in its entirety on the Daily Mail.
Phillips claimed the 21-year-old student was resisting arrest; this is what the falsified police report said as well. The photos, the freelance photographer who took them, and other witnesses on the scene painted a different story.
[Photographer John Messner] shot a series of photos showing two officers placing him in handcuffs when the 47-year-old Phillips walked over and choked Jarod Dotson until he fell to his knees.
The photographer said deputies smacked Dotson in the back of the head as they pulled him up, as if to wake him up.
“In my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has never been tolerated,” said Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones in a statement. “After an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, I believe excessive force was used in this incident. Therefore, Officer Phillips’ employment with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is terminated immediately. The investigation will now be turned over to the Knox County Attorney General’s Office to determine any further action.”
Dotson was charged on charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was released from jail Sunday on a $500 bond.
[H/T: Raw Story]