A sheriff’s deputy in Georgia was fired Sunday after videos posted to social media showed him repeatedly striking a Black man who was pinned to the ground.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said the deputy, who is white, was fired for excessive use of force in the encounter Friday with Roderick Walker. A criminal investigation into the incident was being turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s office, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
A lawyer for Walker, Shean Williams, said Saturday that Walker had been a passenger in a car that was pulled over for having a broken tail light. When a deputy asked for his identification, he refused — “like every American citizen has the right to do,” Williams said.
“Why are you asking for my ID?” Williams quoted Walker saying. “I’m not driving and I haven’t done anything wrong.”
After authorities told Walker to get out of the car, Williams said, the deputies “attacked” him.
At least two separate videos, each from different angles of the arrest, show the confrontation. In one, an officer is heard saying Walker is biting his hand.
In the same video, deputies pin Walker down and appear to have him in a hold around his neck. Walker can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe” while appearing to gasp for air. A woman can be heard screaming, “No! Don’t kill him! He said he can’t breathe!”
After the woman’s plea, the deputies are still on top of the man for several seconds. When the deputies get off him, he is bleeding from his nose and appears to have lost consciousness. Williams said Walker went unconscious twice.
At least one child can he heard screaming in the background.