A Georgia sheriff’s deputy has been fired after being caught on video repeatedly punching a Black man he had pinned to the ground during a traffic stop.
Authorities in Clayton County said the deputy was terminated for “excessive use of force” but did not identify the officer. A criminal investigation of the incident will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office.
The victim, Roderick Walker, was a passenger in a car pulled over on Friday due to an alleged broken taillight. Also in the vehicle were Mr Walker’s girlfriend, their five-month-old child, and young stepson.
Attorney Shean William says that the deputies asked Mr Walker for identification and then demanded that he exit the vehicle. Mr Walker asked why he needed to, as he wasn’t the driver.
The vehicle was a Lyft rideshare service that was taking the family home having dropped off a rental car.
After Mr Walker exited the vehicle a bystander caught the assault by the officers in a shocking video lasting almost four minutes.
Both deputies can be seen on top of Mr Walker, with one repeatedly punching him. The officer claims Mr Walker bit his hand.
Mr Walker’s girlfriend is seen screaming and both she and a bystander yell for the officers to get off him when he says that he cannot breathe. A child in the vehicle calls out: “Daddy”.
Mr Williams says that his client denies biting the officer and lost consciousness during the beating. After being handcuffed and pulled to his feet he appears unsteady. A photo of Mr Walker taken in custody shows a large welt under one of his eyes.
Records show Mr Walker was arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers and battery. Mr Williams is demanding the release of his client on bond.
A statement released by the Sheriff’s office on Sunday reads: The Sheriff ordered a signature bond courtesy for Mr Walker 48 hours ago. Unfortunately, Mr Walker has a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County for cruelty to children, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and a failure to appear warrant out of Hapeville which resulted in Magistrate Court denying him a bond.
The statement also said that Mr Walker was receiving medical treatment and is being monitored at the jail hospital by a doctor.
The driver of the car was released without a citation and reportedly also did not have any identification with him.