A Georgia sheriff’s deputy was fired Sunday after videos posted on social media showed he repeatedly hit a black man who was pinned to the ground.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said the white MP was fired for using excessive force in meeting Roderick Walker, 26, on Friday. A criminal investigation has been referred to Clayton County attorneys, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
A Walker attorney, Shean Williams, said Saturday that Walker was a passenger in a car that was run over because of a broken taillight. When one MP asked for his ID, he refused ̵
“Why are you asking for my ID?” Williams quoted Walker as saying, “I don’t drive and I haven’t done anything wrong.”
After the authorities told Walker to get out of the car, MPs “attacked” him.
At least two videos show the confrontation from different angles. In one case, an officer is heard saying, Walker bites his hand.
In the same video, MPs are stuck with Walker and appear to be holding him around their necks. Walker can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” while gasping for air. You can hear a woman scream, “No! Don’t kill him! He said he can’t breathe!”
After the woman’s request, the MPs are on the man for a few seconds. When the MPs get off him, he is bleeding from his nose and appears to have passed out. Williams said Walker passed out twice.
He can hear at least one child screaming in the background.
The MPs roll Walker onto his stomach and handcuff him. The video ends with a third proxy asking the woman to get into a car.
Another video from a distance shows a boy in a car parked next to the scene yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!” The same video shows a proxy beating the man while he is pinned down.
There does not appear to be a video showing what led to the incident and it was unclear how the interaction became violent. The authorities did not say why the car was run over.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in the statement that Walker had received medical treatment including X-rays and that no fractures had been found. A photo released by his lawyers showed him with a puffy eye.
Jail records show Walker was arrested on suspicion of handicapping or disabling an officer and a battery, which Williams said should be dropped. The sheriff’s office said Sunday that Walker has been released at his own discretion but has been held for cruelty towards children and possession of a gun by a convicted criminal and another no-show arrest warrant.
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Williams, the sheriff’s office, and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
The arrest comes after months of protests against the police murder of Breonna Taylor, the death of George Floyd in police custody, and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Regarding these cases, Gerald Griggs of the NAACP in Atlanta said Saturday that he and others are demanding Walker’s release but that they may mourn his life.
“We have seen this too many times and we are just tired of it,” he said.