This Sept. 12 photo provided by the Cochran Firm shows Roderick Walker at the Clayton County Jail in Jonesboro, Ga. A sheriff’s office in Georgia said on Sept. 13, it fired a deputy seen on video repeatedly punching Walker during a traffic stop. The deputy was being let go for “excessive use of force,” the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. (The Cochran Firm via AP)
By J.K. Schmid
Special to the AFRO
The Sept. 11 recording, posted on Instagram, shows a Black man, whom the Atlanta Black Star identifies as Roderick Walker, pressed to the tarmac by the full body of one White sheriff’s deputy. While so restrained, a second White deputy presses his hand over the mouth and nose of Walker. The deputy releases Walker’s face as a woman begs for Walker’s life only to palm at Walker’s face again. The deputy gives up on the awkward second attempt to smother Walker and begins punching Walker in the face.
When the beating concludes, Walker is seen limp, blood pouring from his nose, being dragged away from the camera as onlookers beg police to stop the beating.
Walker was among family at the time, his two children, ages five years and five months, his girlfriend and his cousin, the Star reports.
““He’s bleeding! No! Please, stop!” a woman is heard screaming as the assault continues.
“I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die. I can’t breathe,” Walker gasps, as the two deputies mount his body. Walker is quiet when the punches begin. He does not speak again in the video.
Walker survived the encounter and is currently held in Clayton County jail. Walker’s family and attorney, Shean Williams are calling for his immediate release. Walker is currently being held on obstruction and battery charges. Accounts vary on the circumstances that led to Walker’s encounter with Deputies, but Newsweek, the Star, the UK’s The Sun agree that police escalated when Walker questioned why he was obligated to provide ID to officers without justification.
Midnight, Sept. 12, Clayton County’s Sheriff’s Office released a brief statement. The statement is below in its entirety:
“After being made aware of a video posted on social media involving a Deputy using physical force on a man, Sheriff Victor Hill ordered his entire Internal Affairs Unit to come in and begin an investigation that has been on going (sic) since 8 p.m. The Sheriff has ordered that the Deputy involved be placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Since the release, Clayton County Sheriff’s Department has terminated the Sheriff’s Deputy for what the office is calling “excessive use of force.”