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Man punched, kicked by officers settles with Georgia county

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A man who was punched and kicked by two police officers in an Atlanta suburb almost five years ago has settled a lawsuit against the county for $400,000.

Demetrius Hollins filed the federal lawsuit in September, alleging excessive use of force by the two officers involved in the assault. He also named Gwinnett County and the county’s police chief in the suit as he asked for relief in compensatory and punitive damages.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved the settlement on Jan. 4 and the lawsuit was dropped last month, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The attorneys for Hollins, L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, told The Associated Press in an email that the settlement “represents the final chapter in the quest for justice for Mr. Hollins.”

Hollins, who is Black, was pulled over by two white police officers in Gwinnett County in April 2017 regarding an issue with his license plate. When he exited the vehicle, he was punched in the face by Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni. After he fell to the ground, another officer, Robert McDonald, stomped on his head.

Both officers were fired the next day, and a grand jury found them guilty of the assault. Bongiovanni was sentenced to five months of house arrest and six months in jail under a work-release program, while McDonald was sentenced to 10 years of probation and 11 months of house arrest.

The lawsuit had also alleged the police department in Gwinnett County implemented a use-of-force policy that allowed for the incident to occur. A settlement outside of court does not mean an admission of guilt.

Tags assault Atlanta Bruce Ayers Chris Stewart court battles Demetrius Hollins excessive use of force federal lawsuit Georgia Gwinnett County Gwinnett County, Georgia Lawsuit Michael Bongiovanni police brutality police violence Robert McDonald use of force

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