Good Samaritan hailed for helping officer during violent confrontation

Credit: Smyrna Police Department

Credit: Smyrna Police Department

good Samaritan has been hailed as a hero for assisting an officer during a violent altercation in Smyrna.

On Feb. 5, Officer Jared Toso responded to a call of an unwelcome visitor at an apartment complex fitness center, police said.

Toso asked for the man’s identification card, but he claimed he lost his wallet. Toso then asked for the man’s name and date of birth, but he wouldn’t comply and walked away from the officer, police said.

Intense body camera video obtained by WSB-TV shows the scuffle between Toso and the man he tried to arrest.

Police charged Jeremy Johnson, 30, with several felonies, including willful obstruction of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault of an officer and attempted removal of a weapon from a public official.

During the course of the unwelcome visitor investigation, Johnson lunged at Toso and knocked his Taser to the ground, police said.

Sgt. Louis Defense described it as a violent confrontation.

“The individual was trying to choke him. You can hear our officer gasping for air,” Defense said. “This situation could’ve easily escalated to a deadly force encounter.”

Gregory Chernak, who’s an apartment complex maintenance man, witnessed the fight, quickly intervened and prevented the situation from escalating any further, police said.

Chernak will be recognized for his heroic actions in front of the mayor and council at the Smyrna City Council meeting March 16.

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