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An attorney for a Black man who was captured on video being repeatedly beaten by a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop in Georgia is demanding that his client be released from jail and called the county sheriff’s statement on the matter an attempt to deflect from his “lack of leadership.”
“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,” attorney Shean Williams of The Cochran Firm in Atlanta said Sunday.
This Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 photo provided by The Cochran Firm shows Roderick Walker at the Clayton County Jail in Jonesboro, Ga. (The Cochran Firm via AP)
Williams’ comments on Sunday come shortly after the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy was fired after being captured on video repeatedly punching a 26-year-old Roderick Walker during a traffic stop on Friday.
The Clayton County Sheriff's Office said the deputy was being let go for "excessive use of force." It did not identify the deputy but said a criminal investigation has been turned over to the district attorney's office.
Williams said his client was arrested and beaten after deputies pulled over the vehicle he was riding in Friday with his girlfriend, their 5-month-old child and his stepson for an alleged broken taillight. The deputies asked for Walker's identification and got upset and demanded he get out of the vehicle when he questioned why they needed it since he wasn't driving, Williams said.
The subsequent arrest, captured on video by a bystander shows two deputies on top of Walker, one of whom repeatedly punches him. As Walker is handcuffed, the deputy who punched him tells the bystander that Walker bit him.
Williams said his client denies biting the deputy. Walker was trying to survive and lost consciousness at least twice during the beating, Williams said. A photo of Walker taken later in jail shows a welt under his left eye.
"My reaction to the video is that it just shows unfortunately another incident where an African American male's civil rights have been violated by people and officers and law enforcement who have the duty first to protect and serve," he said.
Walker later wobbles and appears to try to jerk free as deputies get him on his feet. He was arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers and battery, according to jail records. Williams demanded his release on bond and said he has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to review the case. He also accused investigators of improperly talking to his client without an attorney at the jail.
The sheriff's office said a court denied bond for Walker because of outstanding warrants, including a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County for cruelty to children and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The sheriff’s office tweeted Saturday night that it was area of the video and has opened an investigation.
The sheriff's office said Walker had received medical attention and was being monitored by a doctor at the jail hospital.
Williams said the local NAACP and Black Lives Matter activists were scheduled to hold a protest outside the Clayton County Jail Sunday to demand Walker’s release.