A white sheriff’s deputy from Georgia has been fired after a video captured the deputy repeatedly punching a Black man as he was pinned to the ground and cried out, “I can’t breathe.” Roderick Walker, 26, was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by deputies for an alleged broken rear light. The officer is heard saying Walker should stop biting his hand.
The BBC reported that an altercation broke out between Walker and the two deputies when the police tried to arrest him.
Walker, who suffered from a badly bruised and swollen left eye, was booked at the Clayton County Jail Friday night on two counts of battery and two counts of obstructing officers, according to ABC News.
A video that circulated on social media shows Walker being held down by two Clayton County sheriff’s duties, near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where the incident occurred, as one of the sheriffs repeatedly punched him. Walker’s 5-year-old son could be heard screaming “Daddy,” from the vehicle.
Shean Williams, Walker’s attorney, said his client had been a passenger in the ride-share vehicle with his girlfriend, their five-month-old child, and his stepson when the driver was pulled over for a routine traffic violation when the incident quickly escalated when he asked Walker for his identification, said Williams.
“He informed them that he did not have an ID and that he didn’t need any since he was not driving a vehicle. When they didn’t like his question, they then demanded that he get out of the vehicle that he wasn’t driving,” Williams said, according to ABC News. “It escalates to him being beaten on the ground, being tased, and almost dying. And they take him to jail.”
On Sunday, officials announced that “the Deputy who repeatedly struck Roderick Walker is being terminated from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office … for excessive use of force.” The deputy’s name was not immediately released, ABC News reported.
The case is being looked at as a criminal investigation and has been turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, according to a statement from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.
In the meantime, Walkers’ family is demanding his release from the Clayton County Jail.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill ordered a signature bond courtesy, but Walker remains in jail for outstanding warrants, including a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County, Georgia, for cruelty to children and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, ABC reported. Walker also had a warrant out from Hapeville, Georgia, for allegedly failing to appear at a court hearing on an undisclosed charge, authorities said.
Walker’s attorney called the new charges against his clients “frivolous” and demanded that they get dropped and his client released.