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Grand jury indicts former Roswell Police officer for punching, tasing handcuffed man

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Daniel MacKenzie

Daniel MacKenzie, middle, and Cheryl Dickerson, right, raise their right hand to take the oath of office in November 2016 as Municipal Judge Brian Hansford swears them into the Roswell Police Department. 

ROSWELL, Ga. — A Fulton County grand jury has indicted a former Roswell Police officer, Daniel MacKenzie, who is accused of using excessive force during an arrest in 2018.

MacKenzie was charged with seven counts, including aggravated assault, making a false statement, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, battery, simple battery and two counts of violation of oath by a public officer.

The indictment states MacKenzie unlawfully committed an assault Oct. 27, 2018, when he tased and punched a suspect who had already been handcuffed and placed in the back of his police vehicle for attempting to break into several cars in the parking lot of a Roswell apartment complex. The suspect is identified as Mario Godoy of Alpharetta. He was 32 at the time.

In the incident report, MacKenzie admitted to tasing and punching the handcuffed man. However, the indictment states MacKenzie made a false statement when he wrote that he had done so because Godoy had been violently thrashing and attempting to get into the driver’s seat of his police vehicle during transport to a nearby hospital.

The Roswell Police Department’s use of force policy prohibits officers from using a taser on a handcuffed/secured person unless there is “overtly assaultive behavior that cannot be reasonably dealt with in any other less intrusive fashion,” the indictment states.

The Herald submitted an open records request Sept. 16 for the bodycam footage of the incident, but the request was denied.

“The current District Attorney’s administration has invoked the exceptions in O.C.G.A. 50-18-72(a)(4) regarding the evidentiary video footage, in order to preserve an unbiased pending prosecution,” Roswell Police spokesman Tim Lupo said. “As a result, we will not be able to release that video evidence at this time.”

Following the incident, the Roswell Police Department conducted an internal investigation and commissioned an audit of its police department by an outside agency. It also placed MacKenzie on administrative leave without pay.

The audit found the department’s force is under-represented in women and minority officers. It also found members of the minority community felt intimidated in their dealings with police.

Around the same time as the investigation was being conducted, the Fulton County District Attorney dismissed Godoy’s charges, including criminal attempt to commit entering an automobile, criminal trespass, loitering and prowling, willful obstruction of a law enforcement officer and interference with government property. MacKenzie resigned from the Roswell Police Department soon after.

As of Sept. 17, a warrant has not been issued for MacKenzie’s arrest.

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Reach Chamian Cruz at 770-847-8079. Follow her on Twitter @xchamian.

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