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Cop Fired After Being Caught Choking Handcuffed, Unresisting Student Until He Passed Out

A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy has been fired after he was recorded on camera choking a student who was being handcuffed until he was unconscious.

According to his termination notice, 47-year-old Frank Phillips has been found “unsuitable for continued employment.”

Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones said “In my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has never been tolerated. After an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, I believe excessive force was used in this incident. Therefore, Office Phillips’ employment with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is terminated immediately.”

The incident was caught by Knoxville freelance photographer John Messner who captured Phillips choking and rendering a 21-year-old student unconscious while the student was being handcuffed and seemingly fully cooperative.

The student had been arrested for public intoxication after police said his cup “had an odor of an alcoholic beverage.”

Though the student, Jarod Dotson, appears compliant during the arrest, police say he ignored “repeated instructions” to go inside the house and “began to physically resist officers.”

This happened at a party to celebrate the end of finals week being attended by 800 people, who police say became unruly. One student says “When the cops showed up we saw people throwing bottles at their cars. They had police dogs out there.”

Reports say about 60 cops had to be called in and 10 people were arrested.

According to Messner, who captured images from much of the night, Dotson was not resisting and went willingly. He says Phillips choked him while the other cops were putting handcuffs on him, then they picked him up after he blacked out and slapped him on the head.


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Igor Derysh is the Managing Editor of Latest. com and a syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sun Sentinel, and AOL News. His work has been criticized in even more publications. Follow him on Twitter @IgorDerysh

  • Rory

    ASSAULT CHARGE IS IN ORDER…Are thats for common folks.

  • Mark Schmidt

    Jail time for sure. Police have become the enemy over the last several years.

    • acornwebworks

      Well, SOME of them have. Let’s not blanket-condemn them, OK?

      • Ascended

        I agree, but the ones who have broken the law should suffer the most, as that they where in a position of authority.

  • acmavm

    So damn many of them have been in the military. They were trained to kill and nothing more. The military gave them training that basically told them they were allowed to use any means they wanted to intimidate and control the people (in another country). Down and dirty. And if you had to shoot a few innocent people along the way, that was just the price THEY had to pay. When they got out of the military, the jobs that so many of them drifted to involved law enforcement. Now, they apply that same training to us. And the Feds give them all the weaponry, help, and equipment that they need to get the job done.

    • JJSchwartz

      The fault lies with the police departments for improper screening of applicants. As a prerequisite a candidate to be a police officer has to like people as difficult as that can be at times. It is unfortunate that sociopaths are drawn towards police work because of the potentiality to use force.

      • Girlie Girl

        True. He enjoyed choking that kid. And he outweighs the poor guy by at least 100 pounds. What a big strong brave man.

  • BillyBudd7

    how come this man is not charged with assaulting the student?

    • äöü

      I’m guessing that he will eventually be charged. The pressure will be too great. The police dept can’t simply acknowledge that it was inappropriate, and not also recognize that an assault took place.

      One thing I don’t know is if the attorney’s office has to await some prior investigation by internal affairs. I only know about internal affairs what they show on Cop shows. So.

    • Erikxyz

      The police would have to lay those charges………so don’t hold your breathe waiting.

      • BillyBudd7

        From the way that Policeman did that I have a feeling the cop has some dark dark secrets …just my speculation from watching him choke that Kid…he was getting off doing that…

        • Erikxyz


        • Girlie Girl


  • demoncat_4

    hope next the now ex cop is charged with assault and then sued now that he is not a cop and can’t claim is protected from lawsuits being a city worker. plus hope he is arrested too and thrown in a jail cell now.

  • Gerald Hinton

    If the student had been Black or Hispanic the Sheriff’s department would say the officer followed police protocol.

  • !magine

    “Some people should die, that’s just uncommon knowledge.” Even if they wear a uniform.

    • KryptoTSD

      I agree 100%, and then some, !magine…

  • sommerday

    A friend in college who was studying for his PhD in Psychology explained to me that cops score on psychology tests the same as bullies. They just choose to be on the legal side instead of criminal side.

  • yanni54

    FIRED???? That’s all! I hope that kids father gets his a$$! What kind of state is that? CAN’T ANYONE IN POWER OVER THIS POS SEEN WHAT HE WAS DOING??

  • Ronald Hardin

    I hate to tell all of you this but this is not what happen. The kid did not pass out from the officer holding him by the neck. I don’t think it was appropriate the way it was handled but the kid did not look to be in duress the way you are discribing

    • acornwebworks

      Do you have a link to other photos? Because I know that *I* haven’t been able to jump to that conclusion (or the “smiling” one either) from these photos myself. Thanks in advance!!

      • Ronald Hardin

        Try WVLT- News or MYVLT This photo is misleading. The kid did not pass out. The officer should not have grabbed him by the neck but he did not pass out from being chocked. I live here and these pics are misleading

        • acornwebworks


    • Clarisse73

      Does the kid falling to his knees, despite the grip on his neck, tell you anything? Or how about the fact that the unresisting student “passed out” and became unconscious after this cop’s ministrations?

      • Ronald Hardin

        I’m not defending what the officer did, it was wrong. But get your facts straight. The officer holding the young man by the neck did not exert enough pressure as to cause the young kan to pass out. He lost his balance.

  • hsartteach

    Cop was fired, but now needs to be prosecuted for felony assault. Hoping that this is not over.

  • Rosebud

    Man, this story really hurts me on so many levels. That’s ‘my’ campus, where back in the day we just mellowed out and had a great time. How sad . . . we are devolving.