Two police officers in Savannah, Georgia were fired for allegedly using excessive force while placing an innocent man in custody.
Corporal Daniel Kang and Sergeant Octavio Arango reportedly detained the wrong person while searching for a domestic violence suspect in the 9400 block of Abercorn Street on April 14.
The person, who was “mistakenly identified,” was put in custody but not formally charged.
Savannah police supervisors reviewed Kang and Arango’s use-of-force and determined that they violated multiple policies.
On July 30, both officers were fired after being placed on administrative leave during the investigation, according to Savannah Now.
Kang allegedly violated three department policies, including (1) conduct unbecoming of an officer, (2) treatment of others, and (3) reporting a police response to aggression, resistance and force.
On the other hand, Arango allegedly violated seven policies, including (1) supervisory responsibility, (2) neglect of duty, (3) conduct unbecoming of an officer, (4) treatment of others, (5) questions of citizens, (6) body worn camera policy and (7) non-deadly force.
“The conduct of two members of the Savannah Police Department during this incident were totally unacceptable, egregious behavior,” said Police Chief Roy Minter.
Minter presented investigation materials — including a body cam footage — to the Savannah CARES taskforce, which was created by Mayor Van Johnson.
“I was horrified. As someone who served as a law enforcement officer, and as a member of this community, I felt personally that it was absolutely inappropriate. And I felt as a Human Resources professional that the Chief’s actions were absolutely appropriate,” Johnson said, according to WTOC.
Kang has been with the department for approximately eight years, while Arango for 15. The officers appealed but City Manager Pat Monahan upheld the termination orders, according to ABC News.
Kang, a three-time deployment Iraq war veteran, received the Community Spotlight Hero Award from Certus Bank in 2014 for his “continued excellence in protecting and serving the citizens of the Central Precinct Neighborhood and the City of Savannah as a whole.” He was described as being “committed to his department, precinct and keeps the integrity of his beat intact.”
The case has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office for review. Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap hopes to present it to a grand jury for criminal consideration next month.
“I meant what I said on that hot day at the end of May, that it was going to be a new day in Savannah, that Black lives matter, that everyone’s lives matter,” Johnson said, according to AP News. “We’re going to support our police department, but yet, we are going to be committed that individuals who do bad things, who don’t respect, serve and protect, will no longer be members of our police department.”
Feature Images via Savannah Police Department