Five police officers have been indicted by a grand jury in Georgia on multiple charges in the 2019 death of a man outside of Imagine Music Festival.
The Grand Jury issued the indictments on Friday, November 19 after two days of testimony and warrants will be issues this week according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Henry police officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips, along with Hampton police officers Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud and Gregory Bowlden, have each been charged with one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault, Henry Assistant District Attorney Megan Matteucci said.
This took place on September 20, 2019 outside of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Body camera footage shows Fernando Rodriguez naked walking outside of the festival, confused and not cooperating with police demands, but not combative or especially threatening. Officers yell at him to stop and when he doesn’t one hits Rodriguez with a taser. Rodriguez had attended the festival.
He fell on his back after the first taser and after not rolling over they fired several more tasers. The officers rolled him over and multiple of then knelt on his arms, neck and back for nearly 10 minutes (sound familiar?). Rodriguez was eventually tasered 16 times according to AJC. One officer said that Rodriguez was “holding his breath,” before another realized he had stopped breathing. Rodriguez was taken to a hospital and died two days later. His death was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner.
The family settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the Hampton Police Department for $3 million and is pursuing legal action after the Henry County Police Department.