A former college and pro football player was thrown to the ground onto his face while handcuffed by Georgia police officers, a video he posted on Instagram on Thursday shows.
Desmond Marrow, a personal trainer and former University of Toledo football player who was briefly on NFL and CFL rosters, but never played a professional game, wrote on Instagram, “I only had my cell phone in my possession & they claimed to be scared for their lives. I had no type of weapon in my possession, I was arrested for having a gun that turned out to be my cell phone.”
Court documents show that the arrest happened on December 2, 2017, in McDonough, Georgia. Marrow, 30, was charged with making terroristic threats, reckless driving, aggressive driving and obstruction, records show. Police were investigating an alleged road rage incident involving Marrow when the arrest occurred, according to court documents. Marrow is being represented by Atlanta attorney Christopher J. Palazzola.
“Henry County Police Department is reviewing the events surrounding the arrest of Mr. Desmond Marrow, who was arrested by Henry County Police on December 2, 2017. Although at the time of arrest an initial use of force review was conducted by Internal Affairs, earlier this month, Police Chief Mark Amerman ordered an Internal Affairs Investigation to be conducted,” Captain Joey Smith, a department spokesman, said Friday in a statement. “As of today, the officer involved is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation. The criminal case against Mr. Marrow is currently pending in the Henry County District Attorney’s Office. 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 minute-long video, recorded by a bystander, shows two officers holding the 30-year-old Marrow by the arms, while he is handcuffed, in a parking lot. He walks toward the back of a pickup truck and the officers push him against it. He can be heard saying, “I’m not even fighting back,” as the one of officers lifts up his leg and slams him onto the ground onto his face. Marrow can be heard screaming, “I didn’t even do nothing to y’all,” as the three officers kneel over him. The man filming says, “This is unbelievable.”
One officer appears to put his hand near Marrow’s neck, and he screams repeatedly, “I can’t breathe,” as another officer tells him to calm down, before the officer takes his hand away. The officers then lift Marrow up to his feet as the video ends. The video does not show what happened prior to the incident.
You can watch the video below:
Henry County Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Marrow could also not be reached. It is not clear if he has hired an attorney. Marrow did not say in the video when he was arrested. “***ATTENTION*** to anyone who views this post , #Share #Like …PLEASE HELP ME GET MY VOICE HEARD!!! I Was Falsely Arrested & taken into custody in #Atlanta #Georgia #HenryCounty by the Henry County Police,” he wrote on Instagram.
Marrow wrote, “During the arrest the police knocked my teeth out, slammed me on my head and choked me out until I was unconscious. In addition I suffered a shoulder strain and a concussion.” He also said that the incident caused his wife to leave him and said he has dealt with that heartache because of his, “Very Hard time for my short comings and careless actions. his has affected me mentally and impacted my life in a way I can’t even humanly describe . This isn’t a cry for sympathy, I just need it to be known . . . My cry is for JUSTICE.”
According to court documents provided to Heavy by Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta, the incident happened on December 2, 2017, in a Target parking lot on Jonesboro Road in McDonough, Georgia. The incident began when Henry County Police were called to a report of a road rage incident involving Marrow. Dispatchers had told police that there was a “physical altercation,” though police do not provide any evidence that any “physical altercation” occurred.
Officer David Rose wrote in his report that when he arrived at the Target parking lot he located a man he later identified as Marrow. He asked Marrow who had been fighting and if he had swung at anyone, and Marrow denied that there had been an altercation and also denied there had been a fight, Rose wrote. The officer said Marrow, “was clearly agitated and was speaking very loudly and using profanity. He loudly used the word ‘fuck’ several times and I had to tell him to stop.”
Rose said Marrow responded by saying the officer, “had no right to tell him what to say.” Rose wrote that he “instructed him that using profanity in that manner would not be tolerated.” At that point, a witness told Rose that he had heard Marrow threaten to shoot another person during a dispute. Rose asked Marrow if he had any weapons and Marrow said he did not. The officer then searched him and did not find any weapons, according to the report.
Marrow told the officer he was driving on Interstate 75 when someone in a dark sedan threw a cup of coffee at his car. Marrow said the car was driven by a white male and there was a white male passenger. Marrow said he began chasing the car because he wanted to have a conversation with them about what they had done. Rose then told Marrow that he had witnessed him driving aggressively as he turned onto Jonesboro Road and Marrow said “that’s a fact.” Marrow said he was wrong for having chased the car and said he should not have chased it.
A witness told the officer he had seen an vehicle, which Rose believed was driven by Marrow, block in a dark sedan on Jonesboro Road. The witness said the driver got out and threw an object at the dark sedan and the sedan than drove onto a curb to get away. He said the truck then chased the sedan into the shopping center parking lot. After speaking to the witness and other officers, Rose said he decided to arrest Marrow. Rose wrote in his report that the following then occurred:
I told Marrow that he was under arrest and told him to put his hands behind his back. He refused. At that point I pointed my taser at Marrow. I told him that he would be tased if he continued. Officer (Matthew) Donaldson and I then managed to get cuffs on him without me having to tase him. My taser was then out back into its holster. We attempted to search Marrow incident to his arrest. He was instructed to spread his feet apart to enable us to safely search him. He refused to spread his feet and he refused to comply with our verbal commands to do so. Officer Donaldson attempted to spread his feet and Marrow attempted to kick him. Marrow was also attempting to push himself away from the car he was standing beside. Marrow then kicked me with his left foot against my left.
Because he was struggling we attempted to put Marrow on the ground. He fought against this. He was attempting to turn away from my grip on him and was attempting to strike me with his left elbow. After several seconds of struggling he was put on the ground. Even so, he was still not complying with instructions to lay on the ground on his chest. I had to hold him on the ground as we repositioned ourselves. I had my left hand on the side of his shoulder but was still not able to keep him down. I told Marrow several times to stay on the ground and stop kicking. I was attempting to keep him from kicking Officer Donaldson or head-butting me as it appeared to me that he was attempting to do that.
Rose said that he then put his hand on the side of Marrow’s head and neck “in an effort to better keep him on the ground.” Rose said he told Marrow to lay on his chest, but he says Marrow was “still struggling” and “rolled over onto his back.” Rose said, “At that point my hand was on the front of his neck, still in an effort to hold him down to prevent him from head-butting me. Marrow shouted several times that he was not able to breathe, but he was shouting, he was clearly breathing.”
Rose said Marrow “closed his eyes for a second or so as if he was passed out.” Rose then held him down for a few more seconds and then pulled him up and took him to his patrol car. Rose said Marrow “resisted getting into my car,” but he was able to get him inside.
Rose said Marrow complained of a head injury and medics were called, but Marrow refused treatment. Rose said Marrow “laid his head against the door frame and closed his eyes as if he was passed out for a second or two,” when he was in the patrol car.
According to Rose’s report, Marrow claimed a head injury to jail staff and began speaking to the jail nurse about his “sideline injury.” He also complained of left knee and left shoulder injuries and jail staff refused to book him. Marrow was taken to Piedmont Henry Hospital, where he was treated and released by hospital staff, according to the report. Marrow received a CT scan and at one point, “fell out of the wheelchair he was placed in by hospital staff,” Rose said. The officer added, “as he was talking to the hospital staff he said that he had ‘already told the girl on the sideline’ about his injury.”
You can read the full policer report below or here:
Marrow wrote on social media, “During the arrest the police knocked my teeth out, slammed me on my head and choked me out until I was unconscious. In addition I suffered a shoulder strain and a concussion.” He also said the video and arrest have made it a “very hard time,” for him and led to his wife leaving him, because of his “short comings and careless actions.”
Marrow also posted photos of his injuries:
Another set of photos show his missing tooth:
And another shows the injury to his shoulder:
Marrow said when he was taken to jail, he was put into isolation because officers thought he was a gang member because of his tattoos. But he said their attitude changed when they learned he was a former football player and the incident was on video. He wrote on Instagram:
They threw me into isolation and labeled me a gang member because of my tattoos. I was fully cooperating with the officers with ZERO resistance. I thought I was going to die. I was sure I was passing out or dying when Officer #D.Rose was choking me as my breath kept slipping away. Henry county police dept was trying to keep me quiet, but once they found out I was a former #NFLplayer & there was a video of the incident did they then try to drop my charges. They were basically trying to get me to sell my soul in exchange for the video not being posted and they would drop all the felonies and clear my record. They said I was resisting arrest, being out of control, spitting and assaulting the Officers by head butting them. But GOD recorded it and I have PROOF! You know the truth take a lil longer to make it around lies travel faster ?.
Marrow said he was “locked up” with “no bond, which gave me NO voice YOU guys are my voice I NEED your help.” He said the arrest has had a huge impact on his life, writing, “I been sleepin on the floor I can’t get a job with these #Felonies I lost my gym all my clients & training kids is my passion that’s ALL I wana do I can’t pay my child support I would love to see my son I’d take any type of love Bruh it’s real right now.”
Marrow, a defensive back, played at the University of Toledo from 2006 to 2011, graduating with in 2010 with a degree in communication, according to the school’s website. He was on the pre-season rosters for the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but never made the regular season roster or appeared in an NFL game. He also was briefly signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, but also did not play a game for them. After his football career ended, Marrow became a fitness trainer and opened a gym in Youngstown, Ohio.
The video of Marrow’s arrest has been viewed more than 45,000 times on Instagram since it was posted Thursday, April 26, about 2 p.m. He also posted the video on Facebook, where it has been viewed more than 18,000 times. Marrow started a GoFundMe campaign called “Justice for Des Marrow,” which has raised just under $2,500 in seven hours. He wrote on the fundraiser site, “I am raising money to help pay for my doctors bills and expenses and to help rebuild a facility to train the hundreds of kids I have lost becuase [sic] of this traumatic event.”
The video has also attracted the attention of activists. Shaun King wrote on Twitter, while sharing the video with his followers, “He was cooperating. They then slammed him to the ground, knocked out his teeth, and began choking him until he passes out. This is former NFL player and personal trainer Desmond Marrow.”
Qasim Rashid wrote on Twitter, “This is police work? Or how slave catchers would beat down the enslaved? As he begs for mercy, Cops handcuff him, slam him to the car, then the ground, knock out his teeth, choke him—THEN ask ‘you ok?’?”
Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta President Maejor Page said in a statement, “I am utterly disgusted in how HCPD handled this black man, this player did nothing that warranted him slammed, being man-handled and chocked out, especially while handcuffed. But this is why Colin Kaepernick first took a knee, and now to have a player saying this happened to her. We want the NFL to publicly speak out and denounce police brutality. BLMGA will aggressively and zealously defend our victim.”
Eric Prologo wrote on Twitter, “That’s my cousin his name is Desmond Marrow thank you for spreading the word this is crazy he worked real hard to get his own business going as a personal trainer and lost it all because of this bullsh*t they said his phone was a gun so now he has felony charges on him.”
John Eidemiller, who works at the University of Toledo, wrote on Twitter, “Des was one of my students at UT. Good guy. Was always very easy to get along with. I don’t know the circumstances of this incident, but it doesn’t seem like him. My heart goes out to him.”
This story will be updated as more information is made available. You can read more about Desmond Marrow at the link below: