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Atlanta Cop Sentenced to 5 Years After Violently Choking Black Teen ‘For No Apparent Reason’ Until He Lost Consciousness

A former Atlanta police officer will have to serve five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to repeatedly kicking and choking a Black unarmed teen until he lost consciousness three years ago.

Matthew Johns pleaded guilty to an eight-count indictment July 10, according to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr.

Although he was sentenced to 20 years Monday in a Fulton County courtroom, he will only have to serve five in prison, Howard said.

The former cop was originally slated to be sentenced July 29, but a Fulton County Superior Court judge granted a 30-day reprieve after the defense revealed Johns had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. 

His now 17-year-old victim, Antraveious Payne, had been in the Cobb County jail since Dec. 3 on aggravated assault and street gang charges when he was released Aug. 19, according to jail records the newspaper obtained. 

Payne was 15 years old when he surrendered to authorities following a police chase Sept. 15, 2016, the district attorney’s office reported.

Payne was a passenger in a vehicle suspected to be stolen.

And when a Georgia State Patrol Trooper ended the chase with a PIT maneuver, Payne got out of the vehicle and “immediately” lay on the pavement, authorities said.

His hands were up, “showing he clearly did not possess a weapon and did not intend to resist,” the district attorney’s office reported.

“For no apparent reason and in spite of the teen’s surrender, Atlanta Police Officer Matthew Johns, who was a nine-year veteran of the department, ran toward the young male and proceeded to kick him in the head (3) times while he lay prostrate upon the ground,” the district attorney’s office said.

Johns then “pressed his knee to the neck of the teenager,” in an attack that led to a number of cuts, bruises, a neck strain and a serious concussion for the teen, authorities said.

Johns was fired on July 26, 2017.

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