Officer Frank Phillips of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office was fired over the weekend after photos showing him using excessive force on Tennessee college student Jarod Dotson were published by the Daily Mail.
In the photos, Phillips, 47, appears to be choking Dotson, 21. The first picture shows Phillips with his hands around Dotson’s neck and subsequent photos show Dotson appear to be losing consciousness and falling to the ground.
Phillips’ firing was announced Sunday on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office website.
“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,” Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones said in a statement. “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.”
Jones said the incident involving Phillips and Dotson is one of the reasons why the sheriff’s office is buying body cameras to be worn by officers “so incidents like this will be fully documented.”
Dotson was arrested on public intoxication and resisting arrest charges following a massive part late Saturday night in Knoxville that spilled onto the street. Officers with the Knoxville Police Department and deputies with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to clear the streets when some students started throwing beer bottles and became rowdy, according to Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR.
Dotson was one of 15 students arrested in the incident; the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said he was out on $500 bond Sunday. About 800 people attended the party near the University of Tennessee, Knoxville police told WBIR.