Video shows traf­fic stop beat­ing

Sher­iff’s deputy fired for punch­ing Black fa­ther

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS | NATION - Sudhin Thanawala

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 Sun­day.

The deputy was 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 for an al­leged bro­ken tail­light, said his at­tor­ney, Shean Wil­liams of The Cochran Firm in At­lanta.

Also in the ve­hi­cle were Walker’s girl­friend, their 5-month-old child and his step­son.

The deputies asked for Walker’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. He ques­tioned why they needed it since he wasn’t driv­ing, Wil­liams said, which made the deputies up­set. They de­manded he get out of the ve­hi­cle.

The sub­se­quent ar­rest, cap­tured on video by a by­stander and shared widely, shows two deputies on top of Walker, one of whom re­peat­edly punches him. Walker’s girl­friend screams and tells the deputies that Walker said he can’t breathe. A child in the ve­hi­cle yells, “Daddy.”

As Walker is hand­cuffed, the deputy who punched him tells the by­stander that Walker bit him.

Wil­liams said his client de­nies 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 shows 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 wob­bles and ap­pears 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 has 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 had re­ceived med­i­cal at­ten­tion and was be­ing mon­i­tored by a doc­tor at the jail hos­pi­tal.

AP

This photo pro­vided by The Cochran Firm shows Rod­er­ick Walker’s beaten face while he was be­ing held at the Clay­ton County Jail in Jonesboro, Ga. Video cap­tured by a by­stander shows Walker be­ing punched by a sher­iff’s deputy, who has since been fired.

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