One of the Savannah officers fired after use of force investigation will face criminal charges

One of the Savannah officers fired after use of force investigation will face criminal charges
Octavio Arango, left, and Daniel Kang, right, were fired after a use of force investigation. (Source: Savannah Police Department)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - One of the former officers fired after a use of force investigation will face criminal charges, according to a representative from the District Attorney’s Office.

A special-called grand jury was brought in to consider the case; the first to meet since the pandemic and judicial emergency began.

Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter brought the case to Chatham District Attorney Meg Heap after the police department wrapped up an internal affairs investigation that found both Sgt. Arango and Cpl. Kang violated the department’s use of force policy.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, Arango was indicted by the special-called grand jury on a felony charge of wrongful imprisonment and misdemeanor of simple battery.

Kang was not indicted on any charges.

It’s important to keep in mind, indictments don’t indicate guilt. That will be up to a jury to determine at a later date if the case goes to trial.

According to Savannah Police, this stems from a warrant operation that Kang and Arango were a part of in April where they detained the wrong person.

As we learn more about next steps in this case, WTOC will provide you updates.

In the incident report written by Arango, he describes how it all happened from his perspective. In Arango’s report, he says it started when his warrant squad went to capture a suspect at Moss Pointe Apartments.

Arango’s report shows he saw a man who he thought looked like the suspect. Officers chased him into an apartment. Arango says the man disregarded several commands to get on the ground and that’s when Arango says he and Kang put the man on the ground.

Later in the report, the man is seated in a chair and questioned – it’s at that point that Arango says the man spit a glob of blood and phlegm at him. Arango says it appeared the man was going to spit at him again but Arango shoved his face back and put him on the ground.

Arango says the man continued to spit at him and Kang while shouting obscenities. Arango says he then forced the man’s jaw closed and his t-shirt was pulled over his face.

Arango says he found a t-shirt on the porch and tied it over the man’s mouth to keep him from spitting. Arango says the man eventually removed the shirt but didn’t spit again.

The report says the man told Arango he spit on him because Arango messed up his chin. The man was then taken to the hospital to be treated. The man involved in this report was not the original suspect police were looking for.

The report also notes that Arango’s body camera was not activated during this incident.

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