Deputy on video punching Black man in Georgia fired

AP – A sheriff’s deputy in Georgia has been fired after being captured on video repeatedly punching a Black man during a traffic stop, authorities said on Sunday.

The deputy was being let go for “excessive use of force”, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. It did not identify the deputy, but said a criminal investigation has been turned over to the district attorney’s office.

Roderick Walker, 26, was arrested and beaten after Clayton County sheriff’s deputies pulled over the vehicle he was riding in Friday with his girlfriend, their five-month-old child and his stepson for an alleged broken taillight, his attorney Shean Williams of The Cochran Firm in Atlanta said on Sunday. The deputies asked for Walker’s identification and got upset and demanded he get out of the vehicle when he questioned why they needed it since he was not driving, Williams said.

The subsequent arrest, captured on video by a bystander and shared widely, showed two deputies on top of Walker, one of whom repeatedly punched him. Walker’s girlfriend screamed and told the deputies Walker said he could not breathe. A child in the vehicle yelled, “Daddy.”

As Walker was handcuffed, the deputy who punched him told the bystander Walker bit him. Williams said his client denied biting the deputy. Walker was trying to survive and lost consciousness at least twice during the beating, Williams said. A photo of Walker taken later in jail showed a welt under his left eye.

“My reaction to the video is that it just shows unfortunately another incident where an African American male’s civil rights have been violated by people and officers and law enforcement who have the duty first to protect and serve,” he said.

Walker later wobbled and appeared to try to jerk free as deputies get him on his feet. He was arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers and battery, according to jail records. Williams demanded his release on bond and said he asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to review the case. He also accused investigators of improperly talking to his client without an attorney at the jail.

A person who answered a call to the sheriff’s office said he could not comment further, citing an ongoing investigation. He declined to provide his full name.

The sheriff’s office said in its statement a court denied bond for Walker because of outstanding warrants, including a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County for cruelty to children and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

It said Walker received medical attention and was being monitored by a doctor at the jail hospital.