Viral videos from over the weekend captured Georgia deputies using force on a passenger after he told them that he didn't have identification on him.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Roderick Walker and his girlfriend were passengers in an SUV. The incident began when Clayton County deputies stopped the vehicle because of a broken tail light. Shean Williams, Walker's attorney, told the paper that when deputies asked Walker for his driver's license, he informed the officers that he didn't have his identification and didn't need one since he wasn't driving the vehicle.
Williams said the deputies told Walker to exit the vehicle and says that they used excessive force while arresting him.
Separate videos from various angles show one deputy striking Walker while he's pinned to the ground. A woman screams in distress in the background.
Shit like this still happens everywhere. This happened today in #Atlanta in #ClaytonCounty. There no reason they needed to handle this man like this at all. #Fuck12 #BLM #ChangeTheSystem pic.twitter.com/i7BarNkeI4
— Korey Epps (@HardKBBM) September 12, 2020
Clayton GA deputies pulled over a Lyft driver, but then beat the Black PASSENGER. Officers pressed his face on the PAVEMENT & punched him repeatedly because he didn't have his ID. Unbelievable… ANOTHER Black man saying "I can't breathe" while being ASPHYXIATED by police!! pic.twitter.com/WGCs5wEqzx
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 12, 2020
Sheriff Victor Hill gave a statement about the incident on Saturday, saying that the unnamed deputy who struck Walker was placed on administrative leave without pay pending an internal investigation. In a follow-up statement on Sunday, Hill announced that the still-unnamed deputy had been terminated "for excessive use of force" and that the Clayton County District Attorney's Office would take over the investigation.
Walker was charged and arrested for obstructing law enforcement officers and battery. Because Walker has a felony probation warrant in another Georgia county, his lawyers must resolve separate legal issues before they can secure his release, per Hill's Sunday statement.
Gerald A. Griggs, another attorney representing Walker, tweeted in support of his release over the weekend, arguing on Monday morning that the traffic stop charges against Walker, which are unrelated to his prior warrant, should be dropped.
No one should be treated this way. #RoderickWalker is a son, brother, father and native of Atlanta. Release him from the Jail. #justicefighter in solidarity with @georgia_naacp @cochranfirm_atl ✊????Protest at the Jail Tomorrow at 2 pm. #BlackLivesMatter. This is why we March!!! pic.twitter.com/mR7gawQSWH
— Gerald A. Griggs (@AttorneyGriggs) September 13, 2020
Law enforcement in Clayton County recently faced scrutiny for another incident where an officer pulled a gun on five teenagers while bystanders spoke out.