A sheriff's deputy in Clayton County, Georgia, was fired on Sunday for using excessive force after disturbing viral videos showed him repeatedly punching a Black man and injuring him, as he lay pinned to the ground, according to authorities. The attorney of the black man has also demanded the release of his client immediately from jail, as he was the victim of police brutality and not the culprit.
The video of the incident was taken by a bystander, who later posted it on social media, where it became viral. Following this, an investigation was launched and the deputy was put on administrative leave on Saturday before being finally fired on Sunday, the sheriff's office said in a statement.
The Black man was identified by officials and his attorneys as Roderick Walker, 26, an Atlanta native and father of four children. Walker was arrested and beaten after deputies stopped the car he was riding in on Friday with his girlfriend, their five-month old child and his stepson, allegedly over a broken taillight. The deputies apparently demanded Walker's ID which he wasn't carrying and asked why they needed it. This upset the cops who then ordered him to step out of the car, said his attorney, Shean Williams of The Cochran Firm in Atlanta.
Interestingly, Walker wasn't driving the car. According to Williams, Walker, along with his girlfriend and his child, paid a driver to get a ride home after dropping off a rental car. This was one of the reasons Walker hesitated to show his ID since he was not directly involved in breaking any rule.
Once he stepped out of the car, officers started beating him. Videos shared on social media over the weekend show Walker being pinned to the ground by two officers while they attempt to arrest him during the traffic stop. In one of the videos, two officers are seen punching him in the face several times, causing Walker to bleed from his face. He also appears to lose consciousness at one point.
In the first video, a woman, who was later identified as Walker's girlfriend, can be heard yelling at the officers to get off him while pleading with them for Walker's life. "Get off him," the woman is heard shouting at the officers. "Officer, he said he can't breathe," the woman says repeatedly.
A second video taken by a bystander shows Walker's child running around him as he lay on the ground and is later heard shouting: "Daddy! Daddy!" from the backseat of a vehicle. The incident took place outside of the Georgia Department of Public Health in Clayton County.
Police Brutality Continues
Walker was arrested on multiple charges and is still in jail. He faces charges of two counts of battery and two counts of obstructing law enforcement officers. Moreover, he lost consciousness twice, Williams said, adding that he was not given any medical treatment as the video was being filmed.
The videos which went viral over the weekend led to the launch of a criminal investigation by the sheriff's office on Saturday. Following that, one of the deputies was put on administrative leave and then fired on Sunday. The name of the deputy hasn't be revealed yet.
"How does a young man... end up beaten and attacked by Clayton County Sheriff's department and ends up in jail when he was the one who was attacked?" Williams said. He has also demanded for immediate release of Walker. The Clayton County Sheriff's Office said they "ordered a signature bond courtesy for Mr. Walker 48 hours ago." However, the bond was denied by the Magistrate Court because Walker allegedly "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" the sheriff's office said.