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Cop involved in controversial arrest of former NFL player pleads guilty to battery

By Christian Boone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

The former Henry County police officer accused of choking former NFL player Desmond Marrow accepted a plea deal Monday prohibiting him from ever working in law enforcement again. 

David Rose pleaded guilty to simple battery as part of his agreement with Henry prosecutors. His decision ends a legal standoff dating back to March 2019, when, at the last minute, Rose backed out a deal with similar terms. His attorney, Lee Sexton, said at the time Rose couldn’t admit he was guilty of something he didn’t do. 

But the evidence against him in the December 2017 incident was significant. Cellphone video showed Rose choking Marrow as he lay on the ground, handcuffed. Subsequent statements by Rose contradicted his official account, including this admission to his partner, Matthew Donaldson, captured on dashcam video: “I’m not going to write it down, but hell yeah I choked that (expletive deleted).”

Rose and Donaldson were responding to a report of aggressive driving in the Target parking lot on Jonesboro Road in McDonough. 

Rose had faced two counts of violating his oath of office, one count of making a false statement and one count of simple battery. He faced a possible prison sentence had he been found guilty.

“Through his revealing words and actions, David Rose tarnished the badge that represents all the honorable and brave men and women who serve in law enforcement,” Henry District Attorney Darius Pattillo said. “As a result of this plea, Rose will never work as a police officer again. I am satisfied that he has been held accountable for his actions against Desmond Marrow.”

Rose was also sentenced to 12 months probation. 

Marrow will speak to reporters at a 1 p.m. press conference. Return for updates.