Atlanta police officer Matthew Johns might have gotten away with his crime had his police chief not retired, only to be replaced by a new chief who fired him after viewing the dashcam video of him kicking a non-resisting teen in the head several times before planting his knee on the boy’s neck.
Prior to that, Johns had been placed on administrative leave where he remained for nearly a year before he was fired. He was indicted on eight felonies just over a year later.
Last month, the former cop was sentenced to 20 years with five to serve in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated assault/strangulation, two counts of making a false statement and two counts of violating oath of office, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Johns, a military veteran, argued that his actions were a result of the PTSD he developed by serving overseas where he interpreted a surrening teen to an enemy combatant reaching for a gun.
But prosecutors argued that Johns never once mentioned his PTSD during his nine-year career with the Atlanta Police Department.
The incident took place September 15, 2016 when Atlanta police were pursuing a stolen car. A Georgia state trooper clipped the car from behind, causing it to spinout and stop.
Antraveious Payne, who was 15 at the time, stepped out of the car with his hands in the air, showing he had no gun. The teen then proceeded to lay on the ground.
That was when Johns came running up and kicked him three times in the head before planting his knee on his neck, rendering the boy unconscious.
While it’s rare to see a cop convicted for a crime committed while on duty, it is not rare to see cops come rushing up and kick a surrendering suspect in the head.
A sentence of 20 years with five to serve in prison means he will serve five years with an additional 15 years probation. The video is grainy but can be seen in the above news report.