The Black man who was punched by police and pinned to the ground is still in jail and his lawyers are demanding he be released immediately.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia launched an investigation on Friday after a viral video circulating the internet showed two cops tackling a Black man, before holding him to the ground in front of his children. In the clip, it sounds like the man is saying he can’t breathe. One of the officers can then be seen punching his face.
Attorney Shean Williams of The Cochran Firm in Atlanta, the man’s lawyers, identified him to Newsweek on Saturday night as Roderick Walker.
“We are demanding, in light of what occurred and can be seen in the video, that he be released immediately,” Williams said, “it is our position that Mr. Walker did nothing wrong.”
Williams told Newsweek that Walker was with his girlfriend Janita Davis, her five-year-old child and their five-month-old baby during the incident. Williams alleges that the police also tased his client.
A statement shared to Instagram by someone claiming to be the man’s cousin said he was pulled over for having a broken taillight. Williams explained that Walker was not the driver of the vehicle. He said Walker, Davis and their children had dropped off a rental car earlier in the day, before asking a cab driver for a ride home.
While he wasn’t in the drivers seat, Williams said, “the cops asked him to get out of the vehicle and attempted to arrest him because they didn’t like that he spoke back.”
In a video of the incident, police asked for Walker’s drivers license. He said he did not have it on his person and questioned the officer about why he needed to produce it. The officer then asked him to step out of the vehicle. The video later shows police forcing him to the ground.
Walker was arrested on two counts of battery and two counts of obstruction on Friday. He has still not been released from jail as of Saturday night.
“How does he end up in jail when he was the one that was attacked?” Williams said. “The people who should be in jail are the deputies who beat him and caused him severe injuries and harm.”
The lawyer alleged that authorities have not given Walker “appropriate medical treatment.”
“Given the fact that he’s been in jail for over 24 hours and had his first appearance, he should have already gotten a bond by now,” he added. “But they have not given him a bond to release him.”
A woman, who appears to be the person filming the video, can be heard begging cops to get off the man. “Get the f**k off of him,” she screams. “Don’t kill him. He said he can’t breathe.” After the cop punches the man’s face, another officer handcuffs him. When police back off the man, the video shows his face covered in blood.
In another video taken of the incident, a child in the back of the car yells “daddy” as cops tackle the man. The cop who punched him can be heard saying, “He bit my hand.”
WARNING: Video footage below contains some scenes and language that may be disturbing and offensive.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office shared an advisory in the early hours of Saturday morning announcing an investigation by Internal Affairs into the incident and officers involved. One of the cops has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. While the advisory does not describe the incident, it does appear to be referring to the one above.
“We have requested he’s not only released from jail but the officers involved be investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to have an independent investigation of their actions,” Williams said. “We want those officers charged for the aggravated assault and battery of Mr. Walker.”
Newsweek reached out to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office for comment.