McDONOUGH — Five police officers indicted for the murder of Fernando Rodriguez turned themselves in Monday. Each posted a $100,000 bond and were released.
Henry County police officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips and Hampton officers Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud and Gregory Bowlden are charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and violation of oath by public officer. The men are accused of killing Rodriguez, 24, in September 2019 by asphyxiation.
Rodriguez was found by Hampton police on Sept. 20, 2019 walking nude on Oak Street near the Atlanta Motor Speedway after leaving the Imagine Festival at the speedway. Henry County officers were called to the scene to serve as back up.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Rodriguez was Tasered by officers more than 12 times from both departments and began exhibiting signs of medical distress after he was subdued.
He was taken to Piedmont Henry Hospital and later transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died on Sept. 23, 2019.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Rodriguez family in May claims their son was Tasered at least 15 times over the course of 10 minutes, followed by officers kneeling and standing on his back, neck, head, arms and legs depriving him of oxygen. The suit goes on to say that officers failed to render aid after it was discovered he was not breathing and continued to pin him to the ground until paramedics arrived. He was resuscitated at least two times by medical personnel.
“The medical examiner ruled that Fernando’s death was a homicide and found the cause to be asphyxia due to physical restraint in the prone position with compression of the chest,” according to the lawsuit.
In July, the Rodriguez family agreed to a $3 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit with the city of Hampton and Hampton Police Department.
Page Pate, the attorney representing the Rodriguez family, said on Saturday via social media “good to see that the Henry County DA’s Office has indicted all of the officers involved in our client’s death. And all are charged with murder, as they should be.”