This is Jared Dotson, and he’s a University of Tennessee student who’s smiling in his mugshot because an idiot sheriff’s deputy in Knox County, Tennessee strangled him to the point of unconsciousness.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office fired Deputy Frank Phillips after photos surfaced of him choking out University of Tennessee student Jarod Dotson during a disturbance call about a campus party that spilled out into the streets. The incident happened last Saturday, with 60 responding sheriff’s deputies tried to break up a massive party of around 800 drunken college students. Police were in the middle of arresting Dotson when Phillips put his hands around Dotson’s neck and began squeezing until he lost consciousness.
A freelance photographer in the crowd took pictures of the choking incident. (And what the hell is wrong with the local press in Knoxville when they snooze away for hours on a story that’s being covered extensively by a newspaper in England?) Phillips initially claimed that Dotson refused to comply with officers’ orders to get on the ground, but the photos show he was already in handcuffs and not resisting arrest or trying to flee. An internal investigation revealed that Phillips’ actions constituted excessive force and concluded that he is “unsuitable for continued employment.”
We’re still waiting to see what happens to the two cops who decided to just ignore Dotson getting strangled to the point of unconsciousness. Dotson, meanwhile, was still charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest in connection with the incident at the party–but that doesn’t matter, because he’s probably the luckiest son of a gun on a college campus right now. The guy is all set with a super-sweet lawsuit that Deputy Mongo bestowed upon him. And all Dotson had to do was risk permanent brain injury and physical impairment. Yeah. We don’t have instant sympathy for college guys who get arrested on charges of public drunkenness, but we’re feeling pretty good about siding with Dotson on this one.