The photographs published by online edition of the Daily Mail
showed an unidentified officer appearing to throttle 21-year-old
Jarod Dotson, while two fellow officers handcuffed the student's
hands behind his back, after arresting him at a party near the
University of Tennessee, in Knoxville.
The student did not appear to show any sign of resistance, while the
officer, later identified as 47-year-old Frank Phillips, held him by
the neck until he collapsed to his knees.
John Messner, the Knoxville photographer who took the pictures,
described to the Mail how the officer then slapped Dotson around the
head a few times before walking off.
Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones said in a written statement
that Phillips was found by department investigators to have used
excessive force during the arrest on Saturday night.
"In my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has
never been tolerated," Jones said in the statement, posted on the
Knox County Sheriff's Department website.
"After an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, I
believe excessive force was used in this incident," the sheriff
Jones said that Phillips had been terminated with immediate effect
and that the investigation would be turned over to the Knox County
Attorney General's Office to determine if any charges should be
filed. Phillips had been with the Sheriff's Office since 1992.
"This incident provides a perfect example of why we are in the
process of purchasing officer-worn body cameras (video and audio
recordings) so incidents like this will be fully documented," the
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Dotson was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. He
was released from jail on $500 bond Sunday morning.
He was among several party-goers arrested, when law enforcement
personnel were summoned to a party, attended by a reported 800
revelers, that had turned unruly and spilled onto the streets. Beer
bottles were thrown at officers when they arrived at the scene,
according to local media reports.
No comment was available from University of Tennessee spokesmen, the
university police department or from various student organizations
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Simon Cameron-Moore)
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