Video of a former NFL player struggling to breathe during a violent arrest in late December by Henry County police officers in Georgia has made its rounds on social media, sparking outrage.
The footage, posted to Facebook and other platforms, shows three white officers grab former defensive back Desmond Marrow before slamming him to the ground, pinning him. At one point, Marrow appears to go limp.
Officers are seen pressing the ex-footballer against a white truck before one of them lifts his leg, forcing him to the pavement. Soon after, one officer is seen kneeling near Marrow’s head with his hand placed on the handcuffed man’s neck.
“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Marrow screams before appearing to go unconscious.
One person off camera can be heard saying, “this is unbelievable.”
On his Facebook page, Marrow explained that cops tried to say he had a gun in his pocket, but it was only his cell phone. He claimed officers “knocked my teeth out, slammed me on my head and choked me out ’til I was unconscious.” He said he also suffered a concussion and a shoulder sprain.
“I was fully cooperating with the officers with ZERO resistance,” Marrow wrote. “I thought I was going to die. I was sure I was passing out or dying.”
It’s unclear what led to Marrow’s arrest and if there’s any police body cam footage that shows the incident in its entirety. However, a December 2017 police report obtained by local station 11 Alive News shows incident may have started as a road rage dispute that escalated on the ex-footballer’s part.
According to the report, Marrow took off after a white male driver who’d reportedly threw a coffee cup at his car. The incident escalated when the former footballer chased the driver into a local shopping center, catching the attention of a police officer.
That officer arrived to find Marrow and “several others” arguing in the parking lot, the report stated. After determining that no punches had been thrown, the officer asked Marrow to calm down and to stop cursing. That is when a witness told police he overheard the former footballer threaten to shoot them.
By this time, other officers were on the scene. Cops determined Marrow didn’t have a weapon but informed him that they’d have to arrest him for alleged threats he made against others in the parking lot. That’s when he reportedly became combative, sparking the struggle between him and the officers.
Marrow was reportedly jailed and charged with reckless driving, aggressive driving and making terroristic threats. He’s denied making the threats.