CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill says he has fired a deputy who was seen on video pinning a man to the ground and punching him repeatedly on Friday.
Video circulated widely on social media Friday night of several deputies pinning a bleeding man to the concrete as upset family members scream in the background.
Lawyers identified the man Saturday as Roderick Walker and said he’s currently in jail on two counts of battery and two counts of obstruction.
Hill said the deputy was terminated for excessive use of force. He said the “criminal investigation of this matter will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office.”
Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was in Clayton County Sunday, where demonstrators gathered in front of the jail to demand Walker’s release. They said firing one officer was not good enough and they want all of the deputies involved fired and charged.
“It wasn’t enough, because Sheriff Victor Hill could have easily also charged him criminally,” rally organizer Devin Barrington-Ward said. “Police here get to play judge, jury and executioner.”
Hill said the district attorney’s office will handle the criminal investigation of the incident. Hill ordered a bond for Walker but he said because he has a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County.
Walker’s attorney, Shean Williams, disputes that claim.
“He didn’t try to get a signature bond in my belief,” Williams said. “What he tried to do was cover his a**.”
Williams said he will try to meet with the district attorney’s office and hopes to get Walker bonded out by Monday.
Lawyers for Walker said he is a father of four and was with his girlfriend and one of his children Friday when the incident unfolded.
“How does he end up in jail when he was the one that was attacked?” Williams asked. “The people that should be in jail are the officers that brutally attacked Mr. Walker.”
Lawyers said Walker and his family had just returned a rental car and had a friend take them back home. A unmarked Clayton County patrol car pulled over the driver for a broken tail light.
A cousin of Walker’s shared the video of what unfolded next on her Facebook page Friday afternoon.
Williams said deputies asked to see Walker’s license, even though he was the ride-share passenger and not the driver. Walker why he should have to show his ID when he wasn’t driving and wasn’t doing anything wrong.
“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.
The confrontation wasn’t caught on camera, but video shot moments later shows a bloodied Walker being pinned by the neck to the ground as deputies lie on top of him.
A woman in the background screams, “he’s bleeding” as she records what is happening. One deputy yells out “he’s biting my hand” as the two deputies continue to hold Walker on the ground. Video shows one deputy punch Walker several times.
The woman repeatedly yells “Get off of him. He says he can’t breathe, officer,” and a child can be heard screaming “daddy” in the background.
Photos of Walker released by the family Saturday show him with a black eye in a jail jumpsuit. Lawyers said he passed out twice during the attack and he should have been given medical treatment.
“They continued to beat this man in his face instead of protecting and serving, which they are required to do,” Williams said.
Walker has warrants out of Hapeville for cruelty to children, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and a failure to appear warrant.
Walker’s lawyer released a statement about his previous charges on Sunday:
"Roderick Walker is in jail solely because he was illegally arrested after being assaulted by Clayton County Sheriff deputies, not because of anything he did during that incident or in the past. Mr. Walker would not be in jail if it were not for this unlawful arrest that violated his legal and constitutional rights.
Roderick Walker was not detained or arrested for being on probation or having an open case in another county. Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s statement is just a weak attempt to deflect from his lack of leadership and continuous encouragement that his deputies violate peoples' civil rights.
We are demanding that the Clayton County District Attorney’s office immediately dismiss these frivolous charges against Roderick Walker in this incident. The only individuals who perpetrated criminal behavior were the deputies who unlawfully assaulted and arrested him. As such, we ask that the DA pursue criminal charges against these Clayton County Sheriff’s deputies.
We are also asking that the GBI investigate the assault of Mr. Walker and also investigate the other questionable conduct displayed by representatives with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office."
Hill said Walker received medical treatment and is being monitored by a doctor at the jail hospital.
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