A sheriff’s deputy in Knox County, Tennessee has been fired after he was caught on camera allegedly choking a university student Saturday night.
Frank Phillips, 47, was been found ‘unsuitable for continued employment,’ according to a termination notice posted Sunday night on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s website.
‘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 ‘J.J.’ Jones said.
‘Therefore, Officer Phillips’ employment with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is terminated immediately.’
Jones added that the investigation will now be turned over to the Knox County Attorney General’s Office to determine any further action.
John Messner, a freelance photographer in Knoxville, captured Phillips with both hands around the neck of University of Tennessee student Jarod Dotson in Fort Sanders after a party. The 21-year-old can be seen falling to his knees after the man’s grip apparently renders him unconscious.
Phillips has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 1992. Dotson, of Powell, is an architecture major at the college.
Authorities say Dotson was publicly intoxicated and drinking from a cup ‘that had an odor of an alcoholic beverage’ at 23rd Street and Laurel Avenue, when he was arrested.
He was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was released Sunday morning on a $500 bond, the sheriff’s office said.
The report said Dotson ignored ‘repeated instructions’ to go inside and apparently ‘began to physically resist officers’ instructions to place his hands behind his back, and at one point grabbed on to an officer’s leg.’
University of Tennessee Police officers called for backup after the party ‘became unruly’ and some of the approximately 800 partygoers began throwing beer bottles, Knoxville Police Department Sgt. Mike McCarter told knoxnews.com.
UT student Nicolas Oramas told wate.com of the party: ‘When the cops showed up we saw people throwing bottles at their cars. They had police dogs out there.’
His officers responded at 11:56 p.m. to the ‘disturbance,’ which was spilling into the street.
McCarter said estimated 60 officers from three agencies were present at the party, where at least 10 people were arrested and charged with public intoxication and/or disorderly conduct.
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Alex Greig and Helen Pow