Tennessee Deputy Fired After Appearing To Choke A Student

Two other officers put on paid leave

An end-of-the-year student block party went out of control on Saturday night, according to WBIR-TV, but not as uncontrolled as an officer on the scene. A photographer caught Knox Country, Tenn. Officer Frank Phillips in a series of 61 images in which he apparently choked a student's neck, reported the New York Daily News.

Knoxville photographer John Messner told the Daily News that his initial reaction was that Phillips "choked that boy out." Phillips was allegedly been fired for using excessive force and two other deputies placed on paid leave, pending further investigation.

According to the report, the series of photographs show 21-year-old Jarod Dotson being handcuffed with his back to two deputies. Then they show Phillips moving to the front, wrapping his hands round Dotson's neck, the officer's face "contorting ... as he appears to squeeze."

Messner told the Daily News that that Dotson "never resisted, flinched, jerked or even said anything" and that Phillips had used excessive force.

According to a post on the website of the Knox County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones fired the 47-year-old Phillips, who had been with the department since 1992, and posted a statement:

"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. Therefore, Officer Phillips' employment with the Knox County Sheriff's Office is terminated immediately. The investigation will now be turned over to the Knox County Attorney General's Office to determine any further action."

"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."

A letter addressed to Phillips from Jones cited the former's "gross incompetence, inefficiency, and negligence of duty," as determined after a review by the department's Office of Professional Standards. The letter further stated that Phillips had "placed this agency and yourself in danger of unwarranted litigation" and that his actions were a case of "dereliction of duty."

Dotson was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, despite his apparent cooperation in the series of pictures, and was released from jail on a $500 bond Sunday morning.

Although these were the only reports of officers being investigated or disciplines, some bystanders claimed that poor behavior by officers was far more widespread.

Daniel Lee, a student interviewed by WBIR, said that the police were "kind of getting real rude with people. I mean I was walking out slowly, I guess, because I was still wanting to see what was going on, but I had one cop just come up to me and flash his light in my eye and he was like, 'Where are you going, boy? Where are you walking?'"

Another student at the party, Blake Roller, said that he saw "students getting basically bullied by these police officers. They were taunted by the police officers, saying, 'Hey, come at me, bro!'"

There were other reports of students claiming to have seen police using excessive force throughout the night.

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This is the New Amerika policeforce we have today. There are just too many cops with big heads who believe they can do whatever they want because they usually get away with it. The longer their on the force the worse they get. They are taught to be like this by the superoirs, and incougaged to do as much harm as they can. They no longer work to protect and servie the people ,their sadistic animals doing all they can to hurt people. I'm terrified everytime I leave me house for fear of the cops. Their our Amerikan Taliban, if their not shooting peoples pets . their killing people. When i'm in my car going to the store I am on full alert that I don't do anything that will bring attention to myself for fear of being stopped and beat up or shot. There are some good police out there but anymore thats fewer and far in between. Most of them are plain bullies looking for an excuse to do harm. And I'm white, I can only imagine the fear that is instilled in minorities who are targetted everyday. Someone has got to start from he top and get rid of all the bad cops and if they don't start at the top , notihing wilever change!

May 12 2014 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I find it odd that the story is the bad cop got fired but then the video is of a cop saving a child's life...What is that about....we have to make all police responsible for their actions. I am glad that the child was saved from choking but ....that is no way forgives what another policeman did and got fired for

May 12 2014 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am sickened by reading that "law enforcement officers (of any ilk)" were fired for BREAKING THE LAW. Why were they never ARRESTED and CHARGED ? Why? Why? Often we see an officer selected from a group for violating the law AND no charges go to the other officers who witnessed the act? Why? Why?

May 06 2014 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

chrisny are you blind or did you not see the kid fall oute i bet you woudent want to be in front of this bad cop with his hands around your neck they should fire the outher 2 cops as well fore not stoping what wad going on i know when i hade a badge i never did somthing like that i would also stop outhers from doing bad treat people with respect and treat them the way you would want to be treated rember karma what goes around comes around thir are very few good cops that really want to make a real change a coupel of bad cops ruin it for the few good ones but thir really are some good ones oute thir

May 06 2014 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where exactly is he choking this guy? It looks more like he is just holding him up. He even has his flashlight loosely in his hand. Am I missing something here? I guess people just love to hate cops.

April 30 2014 at 9:50 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Such a dissapointment/disgust on what some believe they can get do!!!
My son recently was pulled over by a State Trooper and was spoke to in a manner you wouldn't speak in public and most don't speak at home! My son IS a yes sir no sir young man and because his age (17) and having a rather sporty vehicle, I believe set this Trooper off to disrespect my son and embarrass him as well. I wanted to storm into the division and address my concerns on how my son was treated but instead I am well aware of where it would get us... Paid the ticket for not using directional for changing lanes and bit my tongue... Just hope the trooper earns his lack of respect someday if he hasn't already!!!

April 30 2014 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They wonder why people don'rt like cops...It just cost me $180.00 for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. I pleaded not guilty. The cop was in the judges room laughing it up before the hearing. I didn't stand a chance.

April 30 2014 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where is the video with sound, if a picture is worth a thousand words a video in this case would be priceless..........

April 30 2014 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can be sure that the law enforcement officials wish this would go away, but I don't think so. I see a lawsuit coming andI for one hope it is a big one. If that were your son, you would be outraged. Onley thing I can tell Officer Choke em is you may want to consider moving where your not known, your time in Knoxville is up. Try pulling that **** in the can with the other inmates and see what happens. Oh, wait they don't lock ex cops up with the rest of population, so there is another extra tax burdon to keep this ******* safe. Hey I hear Putin is hiring just your type.

April 30 2014 at 9:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Im sorry, but those cops all need to be fired. How would they like one of their kids treated like this. Tjey are too ready to pull a gun, get violent and they can not be trusted like we once thought. Today they are a different breed, they are young and they are no better than thugs in the street except that they have aiuthority and they show it in their violent acts.

April 30 2014 at 9:28 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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