Police stun wrong man, then arrest him for obstruction

Patrick Mumford (Chatham County Sheriff’s Department via Associated Press)

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Patrick Mumford (Chatham County Sheriff’s Department via Associated Press)

A man is still fighting the legal system after Savannah police mistakenly thought he resembled a suspect and stunned him with a Taser.

Police charged Patrick Mumford with obstruction in the Feb. 1 incident, but the charge was dropped in April.

Unfortunately, his probation for an earlier arrest might be revoked because of the incident, his lawyer Will Claiborne said Friday.

“Patrick wants his story to be told,” Claiborne said. “We’re investigating whether or not to bring a civil lawsuit.”

Mumford was on probation as a first-time felony offender charged with possession of drugs, Claiborne said. If his probation is revoked, Mumford could face jail time.

In a video posted on YouTube on Thursday, viewers see police body camera footage from Feb. 1, when Mumford was mistakenly stunned by police.

Claiborne said Mumford wants people to see what happened to him and realize if you fit a certain profile, such as being a black man, you may get treated a certain way by police.

“They asked his name and he said ‘Patrick’ twice,” Claiborne said. “The first time the officer was talking over him and the second time they didn’t believe him.”

After Mumford asks, “What did I do?” and refuses to put his hands on the car, an officer shocks him with a stun gun. Once police see Mumford’s identification, an officer says: “You’re not who I’m looking for.”

Claiborne said his client made reasonable requests when approached by police officers and only tried to move away in a non-threatening manner to de-escalate the situation.

“The officers are the ones escalating the situation,” Claiborne said. “He’s attempting to disengage and makes no aggressive moves.”

The chief of the Savannah-Chatham Police Department called the video misleading and inflammatory and issued a statement Friday. Joseph Lumpkin said police are conducting an administrative investigation and posted body camera footage from three officers at the scene of the incident with Mumford.

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