Savannah police department cars
Credit: Savannah Police Department on Facebook

A Chatham County grand jury on Thursday returned an indictment against a former Savannah police officer who was fired for improper use of force. It declined to indict a second former officer in the same incident.

On April 14, then-Sgt. Octavio Arango and Cpl. Daniel Kang arrested the wrong man while serving a warrant. In the process, they forced his head back, tied a shirt over his face and held him down.

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Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter described the officers' actions as “unacceptable” and “egregious” in a press conference last month.

Now, a grand jury has charged Arango with false imprisonment and with simple battery for hitting the man in the head. It declined an additional battery charge for causing the man to fall into a chair.

The grand jury declined to indict Kang, including on a battery charge for covering the man’s face with the shirt.

Both officers were fired July 30 following an Internal Affairs investigation.

They notified their supervisor of the incident in April, prompting a standard review of use-of-force incidents and body camera footage.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said later he was “horrified” by the footage, which has not been released to the public. 

A panel of citizens reviewing the police department’s use-of-force policies also watched the video and recommended the police chief pass the case on to Chatham District Attorney Meg Heap's office for further review and possible charges.