A Georgia deputy sheriff has been fired following an investigation into a video showing a Black man being beaten on an Atlanta street during a traffic stop on Friday.
The unidentified deputy was terminated for excessive use of force during the arrest of Roderick Walker, 26, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said on Sunday.
In the video, Walker is pinned down by two white deputies as one of them punches him in the head, leaving him bloody and at times unconscious, his attorney Shean Williams said at a press conference.
Walker had been riding in a car with his girlfriend and one of his children when the vehicle, which was being driven by someone else, was pulled over for a broken taillight, said Williams.
“How does a taillight being broke end up with a man being beaten and the way he was beaten in a chokehold almost dying?” Williams said. “What the video and the evidence in this case is undisputed, is going to show and has shown is that [Walker] was doing nothing wrong.”
Initially, Walker was asked to provide identification to the deputies, Williams said, but Walker told them that he didn’t have any on him since he wasn’t driving.
“They became upset when he asked, ‘Why are you asking for my ID? I’m not driving and I haven’t done anything wrong,’” Williams said, according to Atlanta station WSB-TV.
Video taken after this purported exchange shows Walker lying on the ground amid a violent struggle with the deputies. A child is heard crying and a deputy yells, “He’s biting my hand.” Walker is seen being punched in the head and lower body multiple times as a woman stands in hysterics just feet away, crying for the deputies to stop.
“Officer, he said he can’t breathe! He said he can’t breathe!” she screams.
Walker was arrested on charges of battery and obstructing law enforcement officers and ordered held without bail due to an existing felony probation warrant out of Fulton County, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said. That warrant is for cruelty to children, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and failure to appear.
It’s not clear whether the deputies knew about the warrant at the time of Walker’s arrest. A representative with the sheriff’s office declined to comment when reached by HuffPost on Monday due to the ongoing investigation. The results of that investigation will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office for review, the sheriff’s office said in a statement Sunday.
A photo of Walker released by his attorneys over the weekend shows him with a swollen left eye.
The sheriff’s office said Walker has received medical treatment and is being monitored at the jail’s hospital by a doctor. An X-ray of his head did not detect any fractures.
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