A Georgia sheriff’s office is under fire after videos emerged showing two deputies tackling and punching a Black cab passenger in front of his child.
On September 11, Roderick Walker returned a rental car with his girlfriend and one of his four children when they hailed a cab home, according to WSB-TV. An unmarked Clayton County Sheriff’s Office patrol car then pulled the driver over, citing a broken tail light, the station continued.
Deputies proceeded to ask Walker for his license, although he was only a passenger, WSB-TV said. When Walker questioned the deputies’ motives, a confrontation ensued, the station continued.
Footage filmed by Walker’s girlfriend captured what happened next, including deputies pinning and punching a bloodied Walker while he lay on the ground. A person claiming to be Walker’s cousin first posted the video on Instagram, with the caption:
So this happened today to my cousin the was in lyft or wateva and the man tail light was out the police stopped them the man didn’t have his License my cousin and his girl was in the car they ask him for his he said y are yal asking me for mines I’m not driving they told him to get out the car and this what happened @fox5atlanta @wsbtv @worldstar
The video has since garnered over 3,000 likes and invoked a wave of public criticism against the deputies.
Lyft confirmed on Twitter that the encounter did not happen within one of its vehicles, but noted that it is communicating with the Georgia NAACP.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office announced on September 13 that it is firing the deputy “who repeatedly struck” Walker following an internal investigation.
“The Deputy who repeatedly struck Roderick Walker is being terminated from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office by order of Sheriff Victor Hill for excessive use of force. This is the administrative action,” the advisory reads.
“The criminal investigation of this matter will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Bystander Footage Shows Walker Struggling to Breathe as He is Pinned Down & Punched
Social media footage of the arrest shows two deputies on top of Walker as he struggles to breathe on the ground.
Walker’s girlfriend, who is filming one of the videos, is heard repeatedly screaming “he’s bleeding” as they push her boyfriend’s head into the pavement.
At one point, Walker says the phrases “I’m going to die” and “I can’t breathe,” while a child screams in the background, the video shows.
At least one deputy is seen punching Walker’s head and legs several times, claiming the man “bit [my] hand.”
Another video filmed by a passerby shows a wider shot of the encounter.
Walker’s Lawyers are Demanding His Release From Jail
Walker is currently being held at the Clayton County Jail on two counts of battery and two counts of obstruction, WSB-TV reported.
Although his lawyers called on city officials to set a bond for his release, Magistrate Court denied the sheriff’s order due to already pending charges, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
“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 reads.
“Mr. Walker’s legal counsel will have to resolve these issues to secure his release,” it continues.