By Chandler Thornton, Dianne Gallagher and Kevin Conlon, CNN
Updated: Sun, 13 Sep 2020 23:56:14 GMT
A sheriff's deputy in the Atlanta area was fired for excessive use of force on Sunday after a social media video showed the deputy repeatedly striking a man, according to the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office said that a criminal investigation of the incident will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney's Office.
"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 since 8 pm (Friday)," according to a statement from the Clayton County Sheriff's Office on Saturday.
Video of the incident appeared on Instagram, showing two deputies holding the man on the ground and striking him in the face. In the video, one deputy can be heard yelling, "he bit my hand!" A separate video taken from another angle shows children in a car nearby crying and one can be heard yelling, "Daddy!"
CNN reached out to the sheriff's office for more details but has not heard back. Clayton County is a suburban county located just south of the city of Atlanta.
The man arrested by deputies was identified by his attorneys as Roderick Walker. Jail records show Walker has been charged with two counts of battery and two counts of obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers. There is no bond listed on the jail records.
Torris Butterfield, an attorney hired to represent Walker, said he met with his client for two hours on Saturday and he is actively trying to get bond set so that Walker can be released.
Clayton County Sheriff's Office said the sheriff requested a signature bond, which would not have required Walker to pay a bail amount, two days ago. However, the Magistrate's Office denied him a bond because Walker has a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County for cruelty to children, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and a failure to appear warrant out of Hapeville, the sheriff's office said.
Attorney says officers demanded Walker's ID
Speaking at a news conference Saturday night outside the Clayton County jail, attorney Shean Williams said the incident occurred after Walker, his girlfriend and one of his children had returned a rental car.
They approached a rideshare vehicle and negotiated a ride home at an agreed-upon rate with the driver, who was off-duty at the time, Williams told CNN.
The car was then pulled over for what was described as a tail-light violation, according to Williams.
Williams said that deputies demanded that Walker show his ID, but he did not have it with him. The deputies became upset when he asked why they needed the ID, the attorney said. Walker told the deputies he didn't do anything wrong before they told him to exit the car, according to Williams, leading to the officers' use of force.
Walker received X-rays of his head, which detected no fractures, and is being monitored at the jail hospital by a doctor, the sheriff's office said.
Some of the social media posts claim the incident involved a passenger in a Lyft vehicle, but the ride-hailing company said that was incorrect.
"We've been made aware of a disturbing incident in Georgia," Lyft said on Twitter. "While we confirmed this did not happen during a Lyft ride, we unequivocally stand against racism and unnecessary use of force."
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation told CNN they have not received a request to investigate the incident. The name of the deputy has not been released.
The Georgia NAACP told CNN in an email that they are "calling for the resignation of Sheriff Victor Hill, the termination of the two officers involved, and all charges to be dropped by the Clayton County District Attorney, Tasha Mosley."
"It's time for the law to work for brown and Black citizens the way it works for White citizens," said Gerald Griggs, an attorney for the NAACP Georgia, during the news conference.