Former football player says Henry police assaulted him during arrest

A former football player says he was first the victim of a hate crime and then was assaulted by Henry County police during his December arrest.

Though the police department said Friday it is investigating the allegations, a video released of Desmond Marrow’s arrest doesn’t tell the whole story, according to the incident report.

The Dec. 2 incident allegedly started while Marrow and two others were driving, according to the police report. Officers were called to a Target shopping center on Jonesboro Road, and when they arrived, an agitated Marrow was outside his truck and using profanity, police said. Marrow told officers he was driving when a cup of coffee was thrown at his truck from a sedan, so he chased the sedan.

“Marrow said that he was only chasing the car because he wanted to have a conversation with the two males about what they had done,” the police report states.

After Marrow and the other driver pulled into the parking lot, witnesses heard Marrow threaten to kill the two in the other car, according to police. When he was told he was being arrested, Marrow refused to comply with officers’ orders to put his hands behind his back, kicked an officer and continued struggling with officers when he was on the ground, according to police.

In a social media post, Marrow says he cooperated with officers’ orders, but was still assaulted while handcuffed.

“During the arrest the police knocked my teeth out, slammed me on my head and choked me out until I was unconscious,” Marrow wrote. “I was fully cooperating with the officers with ZERO resistance. I thought I was going to die.”

An ambulance was called, but Marrow refused treatment, according to police. At the jail, Marrow complained of a head injury and was taken to Piedmont Henry Hospital, where he was treated and released.

“As he was talking to the hospital staff he said that he had ‘already told the girl on the sideline’ about his injury,” the police report states.

Marrow was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats and obstruction, both felony charges, and reckless driving and aggressive driving, both misdemeanors, according to the Henry County district attorney’s office. A magistrate judge later dropped the terroristic threats charge and the case was transferred to the DA’s office, which must now decide if the case will be presented to a grand jury.

DA Darius Patillo said his office is also investigating the officers’ actions.

“The portion of the video distributed is graphic and violent, and we understand why people are disturbed by this,” Patillo said. “I can assure you that once the investigation is complete, we will respond appropriately. As we investigate this case, we are asking the community to remain calm and exercise patience as we continue to collect evidence and interview all parties.”

Friday afternoon, Atlanta attorneys Andrea Boyd and Chris Stewart said they have been retained by Marrow to investigate the alleged police brutality. Prior to his arrest in a shopping center parking lot, Marrow was called racial slurs by two people in another vehicle as he was driving, his attorneys said in an emailed statement.

“He was called racial slurs by two white males while driving and had hot coffee thrown in his vehicle by these individuals,” Marrow’s attorneys said. “He then followed the individuals and a discussion ensued.”

Henry police said Friday an officer involved in the arrest has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

“The Henry County Police Department takes any charges of excessive use of force very seriously and wants to assure the public that this event will be fully investigated,” the department said in an emailed statement.

Marrow, 30, is a former University of Toledo cornerback. Marrow was with the NFL’s Houston Texans and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2012 off season but was released in preseason.

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