ATLANTA: “They’re supposed to be here to serve and protect us, not harm us.” These are the words of Clemmin Davis, who was brutally beaten by police when he was pulled over driving his girlfriend’s car with an expired tag. His passenger fled, so he fled too. Not the wisest thing to do but upon his collapse in the woods, what came next was unconscionable.
Three rouge officers were captured on video punching and kicking Davis. Officer Joshua Lowery was suspended for two days. Officer Brian Thomas admitted repeatedly kicking Davis, and resigned while under investigation. Officer Nicholas Dimauro, seen on the video punching Davis several times, was fired. All three have lost their certifications behind the beating incident.
Dimauro, perhaps the worst of the three, had a history of aggressive behavior and had previously been let go. The city’s civil service review board forced the department to rehire Dimauro, despite 10 prior unnecessary force complaints. What’s troubling is that the board made its decision without knowledge of the complaints. In an unrelated case prior to the beating, the department’s Office of Professional Standards investigators recommended terminating Dimauro, but that punishment was later reduced.
Thomas was recommended for firing four different times prior to the beating. In each case, he too received a lesser punishment. This is the second time POST has revoked Thomas. He was first revoked for giving a bulletproof vest to a criminal. He appealed and made a deal for two years of POST probation instead. Thomas has also been in trouble for domestic violence and lying.
Notwithstanding the POST investigation and his blemished history, Thomas still managed to slip in under the wire and don a badge for the Clark Atlanta University‘s police department. The department’s deputy chief reports that Thomas has since been terminated. Finally, the reign of terror from this officer has been put to rest.
A single episode of abusive power cannot be tolerated. Repeated episodes of abusive power is indefensible. This clearly marks a flawed and failed process for unloading rogue cops. I support police officers for their efforts in doing a dangerous job in the face of public scorn and disrespect but this is the very reason for distrust of all officers. Corruption tarnishes the integrity of the entire judicial system. Kudos to POST for revoking the certs but the real question is – why did it take so long?