A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy finds himself without a job after he was caught on camera choking a University of Tennessee student Saturday night when officers responded to a wild party in Fort Sanders, TN.
Authorities say 21 year old Jared Dotson was publicly intoxicated and drinking from a cup that “had an odor of an alcoholic beverage” when he was arrested at a finals week celebration that had spilled over onto a public street.
Dotson was one of many who was arrested after some partygoers threw beer bottles at police cars. The police report claims Dotson ignored “repeated instructions” to go inside and “began to physically resist” officers’ instructions that he place his hands behind his back, at one point grabbing onto an officer’s leg. The student then was walked a block to a waiting police van at the university.
However, a photographer who caught officer Frank Phillips brutally choking the college student says differently. According to John Messner, a freelance photographer in Knoxville, Dotson did not resist arrest and went willingly, doing nothing to earn the brutal attack at the hands of this disgrace to the department.
Messner says that during the brief moment his wrists were cuffed, Dotson let his arms fall to his sides. As two officers twisted the student’s arms behind his back, Phillips walked around front and wrapped his hands around Dotson’s neck.
Messner says that after the student was unconscious police picked him up and carried him, Phillips slapping him in the head a few times before the young man was carted off.
In the photos, Phillips can be seen with both his hands around Dotson’s neck, causing the 21-year-old to fall to his knees, apparently unconscious.
Frank Phillips was found “unsuitable for continued employment” according to a notice posted on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office web site. ‘In my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has never been tolerated. After an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, I believe excessive force was used in this incident,’ Sheriff Jimmy Jones said, adding, “Therefore, Officer Phillips’ employment with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is terminated immediately.”
Five officers involved in the incident have been demoted–proof that police brutality will be dealt with sometimes…if it’s an election year.
The investigation will be turned over to the Knox County Attorney General’s office to determine if any further action is warranted.