A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy was fired after the Daily Mail published pictures of him choking a 21-year-old college student until the young man passed out.
47-year-old Frank Phillips arrived at the scene of a University of Tennessee party after the students took their debauchery to the streets. Officers attempted to break the party up while students allegedly threw beer bottles at the police cars.
21-year-old Jared Dotson was placed in handcuffs after Phillips and the other officers saw him drinking alcohol on the streets, and even though witnesses say he calmly allowed them to arrest him, the police report says that he resisted the arrest. That’s when freelance photographer John Messner caught Phillips choke the student, who was already in cuffs, until he passed out on the ground. The other officers picked him up while Phillips allegedly slapped him in the head to get him to regain consciousness.
After the photos appeared online, Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones fired Phillips for what he says is a clear cut case of excessive force.
“In my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has never been tolerated,” said Jones. “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.”
Reports also say that the Knox County Attorney General’s Office will be investigating the incident further to see if Phillips should be charged with anything for choking out the student.
As for Dotson, he was arrested and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest and was released on $500 bond the following morning. It’s not clear if Dotson is planning to file charges against Phillips.
Photos by John Messner