On Friday, the Clayton County sheriff’s office in Georgia opened an investigation after a viral video was broadcast on social media of two officers in front of his children assaulting a black man who was alleged to be a passenger in a taxi.
The events that allegedly resulted in the man being held to the ground were detailed in an Instagram post written by someone who claims to be the man’s cousin. The post said the man was driving a Lyft that was run over because of a broken tail light.
Lyft tweeted that the company had confirmed the incident in the video didn’t happen while he was driving a Lyft. Still, the company said it was in contact with the Georgia NAACP. “”[W]We are clearly against racism and the unnecessary use of violence, “said the tweet.
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When the police asked the driver for his driver’s license, the driver said he did not have it. The officer asked the passenger for his driver’s license and asked why he had to show his driver’s license. The officers asked him to get out of the car. It’s not clear what happened before the police wrestled the man to the ground.
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In an advisory report shared by the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office after midnight, the sheriff ordered an internal investigation that appears to have followed the video, and an alternate was subsequently on leave. While it does not go into details of the video, it does appear to reference the video in question.
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“After Sheriff Victor Hill was made aware of a video posted on social media showing an MP using physical violence against a man, he ordered his entire internal affairs department to open an investigation that has been ongoing since 8:00 p.m. The sheriff has ordered that the MP concerned be taken on administrative leave until the investigation is complete, “said the adviser.
Videos that recorded the incident show two police officers holding the man on the ground. A video can be heard of the woman asking the police to get out of the man while filming. At some point it sounds like the man is saying he can’t breathe. One of the officers holding him slaps the man in the face.
“Let him fuck you,” the woman yells. “Don’t kill him. He said he can’t breathe.”
Another officer runs over to handcuff the man. When the police get out of the man, his face is bloody. An officer orders the filming woman to withdraw and get back into the car.
Other videos captured of the scene show more of the incident. At some point the policeman who beats the man yells: “He bit my hand.” A child yelling “Papa” can be seen in the back of the car and watches the police attack the man.
At the end of the last video, the man can be seen in the hood of the police car as an officer approaches the man who is filming and tells him to withdraw.
In a statement after the video was circulated, the Georgia NAACP called for the release of an MP and said it was in contact with the man’s family.
Newsweek turned to the Clayton County sheriff’s office for comment.
Correction 8:08 pm EST: An earlier version of this story said the man attacked was riding in a Lyft. The car pool agency confirmed after the story was published that the man was not driving a Lyft.
Update 9/20/2020: 7:53 PM EST: This story has been updated to include information from the Georgia NAACP.