Five police officers from Georgia have been indicted for the 2019 murder of 24-year-old Fernando Rodriguez whom died of asphyxiation after being placed in a prone position while he was handcuffed and held down, allegedly in violation of state law.
A spokeswoman for the Henry County District Attorney’s office said arrest warrants for the five officers were issued Monday morning. Each officer will be held on $100,000 bond and must turn himself in by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the spokeswoman said.
All five officers have had warrants issued based on one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, and violation of oath of office. The verdict was pronounced by a Henry County grand jury Friday night.
The verdict charges Henry County Police Department officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips and former Hampton Police Department officers Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud and Gregory Bowlden in Rodriguez’s death on September 20, 2019, following contact with police outside a concert at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“Rodriguez, who lived in the Atlanta area, was leaving the Imagine Music Festival at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton when officers encountered him,” the district attorney’s office said in a press release. “In addition to holding his naked body down on the ground, the officers struck Rodriguez more than a dozen times with their Tasers.”
Rodriguez whom died of asphyxiation was shown on the Blbody-camera footage, walking down a street fully naked, away from the officers when they tased him more than a dozen times.
The officers are accused of contributing to Rodriguez’s death by stretching him out “on the ground in a prone position, while he was handcuffed and shackled, holding him down and applying pressure to his body, contrary” to state laws.
The City of Hampton has already settled a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit, according to the family’s lawyer, Page Pate. The city did not respond to requests for comment.
“They paid the family $3 million as soon as they saw the complaint,” Pate said, adding that he anticipates Henry County to settle a similar suit