HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - The Henry County District Attorney's Office said former college and NFL football player Desmond Marrow will not face any felony charges.
An Internal Affairs investigation revealed the arresting officer used unnecessary force and has been terminated, according to the Henry County Police department.
The incident, which became national news after Marrow posted a video on his Instagram page Thursday, May 5, actually happened in December 2017. In the video, officers were seen slamming Marrow to the ground during an arrest. In their report, the officers said that Marrow resisted arrest and was visibly agitated.
“It's a situation you never hear, a victim of a hate crime and then you're a victim of police brutality. You know when you're growing up the police are taught to protect and serve and when that doesn't happen it's kinda like ‘What's really going on here?’” Marrow said Thursday during a press conference.
One of the Henry County Police officers involved in the arrest had been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
"I concurred with the findings of the Internal Affairs investigation and terminated Officer Rose's employment with the Henry County Police Department," Captain Joey Smith with the Henry County Police Department said Thursday.
“I just want to say the situation is bigger than me. I speak for the people that have been in the same predicament and they died or they're not here to talk about their situation. So, it's a win, it's a victory for their moms, for their families, along with my mom and my family,” said Marrow.
The Henry County District Attorney's decision to drop felony charges comes on the heels of a recent push by Marrow's attorney and other groups asking Henry County officials to dismiss the felony charges that came after his December arrest.
"It has been made crystal clear that the basis for this charge is built upon false statements by Officer Rose after a review of the videotape and the charge MUST be dropped," Marrow's attorney wrote in a letter.
"There can be no obstruction for an unlawful arrest," it continues. "Mr. Marrow was the victim of a hate crime and tried to explain that to the officers."
At the time, Marrow faced charges of terroristic threats, reckless driving, and obstruction of law enforcement, attorneys said. The charge of terroristic threats was later dropped.
The Henry County police chief asked the district attorney to launch an independent investigation, which included a civilian review board. The Henry County District Attorney's office says the misdemeanor charges are being transferred to the Office of the Solicitor-General.
"I have seen the video and I do have my concerns. There are some concerns. But there's a lot more to this incident than what happened on that video and we need to look at all of the facts and circumstances to get to the truth," the chief said from police headquarters Monday afternoon.
You can read the whole letter sent to Henry County officials below:
Dear Henry County Elected Officials,
We have reviewed the video, police report and the facts surrounding the arrest of Desmond Marrow. He was arrested for reckless driving, terroristic threats and obstruction of law enforcement officer. Following his arrest, the charges of terrorist threats were dropped by a Magistrate Judge of Henry County. Therefore, leaving the charges of reckless driving and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
The obstruction of the law enforcement officer charge, which was a felony, was predicated on Mr. Marrow “resisting arrest and refusing to obey commands during his arrest. He fought and struggled with officers and had to be forcefully taken to the ground” (State Warrant by Officer D. Rose). It has been made crystal clear that the basis for this charge is built upon false statements by Officer Rose after a review of the video tape and the charge MUST be dropped.
Secondly, he was arrested according to the police report for making terroristic threats, because he “made a threat to kill victims” (Henry County Police Report, Statement by Officer D. Rose). The Henry County Magistrate Court found no terroristic threats were ever made and dismissed the charges, therefore the underlying arrest was unlawful.
In the State of Georgia in order for O.C.G.A. § 16-10-24b to apply, a person knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs or opposes any law enforcement officer in the LAWFUL discharge of his official duties by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer. The obstruction of law enforcement officer charge should be dropped immediately. There can be no obstruction for an unlawful arrest. Mr. Marrow was the victim of a hate crime and tried to explain that to the officers.
We request that you apply the law and evidence in this matter and immediately dismiss the charges for Mr. Marrow, as every day that he continues to have a felony on his record is a day of moving forward with his life lost. We also ask for transparency on when the police department and Board of Commissioners became aware of the conflicting police statements and video of excessive force.
L. Chris Stewart, Esq. (Stewart, Seay & Felton)
Gerald Griggs, Esq. (Gerald A. Griggs, LLC)
Andrea Boyd, Esq. (Price Boyd Law Firm)
Southern Center for Human Rights
American Civil Liberties Union
Eugene Edwards, President of Henry County NAACP
NAACP of Georgia
Timothy J. McBride (Tabernacle of Praise Church International)
Pastor E.W. Lee (Shiloh Baptist)
Pastor Andre Landers (IThrive Christian Center)
Pastor Raphael Warnock (Ebenezer Baptist)
Pastor Spencer O’Neal (Global Impact Christian Church)
Bishop Michael Strickland (Victory Tabernacle Baptist Church)
Rev. Michael McBride (People Improving Communities Through Organizing)