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5 Officers Charged in Murder of Imagine Festival Attendee

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Five police officers face murder charges, following the death of a 24-year-old man attending Imagine Music Festival in 2019.

Atlanta-area resident Fernando Rodriguez died Sept. 20, 2019 of asphyxiation, following a police confrontation.

Prosecutors say the officers applied pressure to Rodriguez’s naked body while holding him down on the ground. He had handcuffs and shackles on during the incident. The officers tazed Rodriguez at least 16 times, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Last week, the Henry County District Attorney’s office annouced that a grand jury indicted Robert Butera, Quinton Phillips, Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud and Gregory Bowlden. The charges include one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, and one count of aggravated assault.

Butera and Phillips worked for the Henry County Police Department. Lewis, Stroud and Bowlden all worked for the Hampton, Georgia police force.

NBC News reports that Lewis, Stroud and Bowlden all resigned from their posts. However, it is unclear if the two Henry County officers remain on duty.

The family of Fernando Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Henry County, the city of Hampton and each of the officers involved in the “excruciating and humiliating death” of their son. That litigation is currently pending in court.

2019 marked the last year Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted Imagine Music Festival. The 3-day EDM festival moved to Chattahoochee Hills in 2020.

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