CLARKE COUNTY, Ga. - An Athens-Clarke County police officer has been fired after an arrest where witnesses said the officer hit a man running from police.
The incident happened Friday in an area known as Triangle Plaza.
Body camera video shows Timmy Patmon running from police, heading toward Nellie B Boulevard. Patmon was on probation and had felony warrants out for his arrest.
Officer Hunter Blackmon then gets out of the patrol car and started chasing Patmon on foot.
ACCPD Chief Scott Freeman fired rookie cop Taylor Saulters (L) Saturday after reviewing body camera video that shows he swerved to the right at suspect Timmy Patmon and hit him. ACCPD says they don't believe it was intentional but negligent. See for yourself at 11pm @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/8RFO3AuZVV— Wendy Halloran (@WHalloranWSB) June 3, 2018
Officer Taylor Saulters follows in the patrol car.
In his first attempt to block Patmon from escaping, Saulters hits the curb and flattens a tire on his patrol car.
Saulters continues his pursuit and as soon as he gets close enough to Patmon, his body camera reveals he swerved toward Patmon and hit him with the police cruiser.
Witnesses told Channel 2’s Wendy Halloran they were outraged when they saw what unfolded.
As the body camera goes on, it shows the two officers struggle to get Patmon to stop resisting until he’s finally handcuffed.
The suspect's mother told Halloran she saw her son on the ground and thought the worst had happened.
“I thought my son was dead,” mother Tammy LaShay Brown Patmon said.
“They were chasing him from behind. They didn’t have to run him over,” Patmon’s brother said, not revealing his name.
“His arms and stuff are all marked up … and he’s limping when he walk,” Brown Patmon said.
Saulters was placed administrative leave after the incident on Friday.
"Whoever hit my son should be punished for it. It’s wrong,” Brown Patmon said.
Within hours of reviewing the body camera footage and conducting interviews, it became clear to the Athens-Clarke County police chief that Saulters did not follow policy. The chief fired him.
A department spokesman said they don’t believe Saulters intentionally hit Patmon, but was negligent in the incident.
"It’s police brutality, it sure is. It’s wrong," Brown Patmon told Halloran.
Saulters is the son of Athens police Capt. Jerry Saulters who heads up the criminal investigative division.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the incident to determine if officer Saulters’ actions were criminal in nature.
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