Ex-Clayton deputy indicted; charges dropped for man he punched

A Clayton County deputy, Brandon Myers, was fired after cellphone video surfaced that appears to show him repeatedly punching a man, Roderick Walker, during an arrest in September 2020. A photo shared by Walker's attorney shows him with a black eye. Myers has now been indicted on battery and other charges related to that incident.

caption arrowCaption
A Clayton County deputy, Brandon Myers, was fired after cellphone video surfaced that appears to show him repeatedly punching a man, Roderick Walker, during an arrest in September 2020. A photo shared by Walker's attorney shows him with a black eye. Myers has now been indicted on battery and other charges related to that incident.

An ex-Clayton County deputy who repeatedly punched a man on the pavement in 2020 has been indicted.

Brandon Myers, 25, is charged with battery and violating the oath of office. Meanwhile, the grand jury declined last month to indict Roderick Walker, the man Myers hit during a September 2020 arrest, court records show.

Myers was fired last year shortly after bystander cellphone video of the incident went viral. The car Walker had been riding in was pulled over, and Walker was accused of trying to flee deputies before Myers was seen striking him with his fist. Myers, who in the video says Walker bit him, has declined to comment on the case and has no attorney listed in court records.

caption arrowCaption
Roderick Walker, center, and his mother Tywouna Walker stand next to attorney Shean Williams as Williams talks to reporters during a press conference in Atlanta on September 18, 2020. (STEVE SCHAEFER / Special to the AJC)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

 
Roderick Walker, center, and his mother Tywouna Walker stand next to attorney Shean Williams as Williams talks to reporters during a press conference in Atlanta on September 18, 2020. (STEVE SCHAEFER / Special to the AJC)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

caption arrowCaption
Roderick Walker, center, and his mother Tywouna Walker stand next to attorney Shean Williams as Williams talks to reporters during a press conference in Atlanta on September 18, 2020. (STEVE SCHAEFER / Special to the AJC)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Myers’ indictment comes amid Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s own legal issues. Hill was suspended this year by Gov. Brian Kemp after a federal grand jury indicted Hill for alleged abuse of people in custody and violation of their constitutional rights. Hill, who was acquitted at trial in 2013 following a corruption indictment, has pleaded not guilty in the new case.

The fired deputy’s indictment alleges he intentionally caused “visible bodily harm to Roderick Walker by striking him about the head and face, resulting in swelling and abrasions.”

Walker’s beating drew national attention last year as the video of the white deputy punching the Black man circulated amid a national reckoning on race and policing.

Days later, Walker, his left eye still horribly bloodshot, spoke to the media at his attorneys’ office.

“I was scared,” the 27-year-old said softly, looking down. “I feared for my life, and I just pray, just hope that it doesn’t happen to nobody else. I lost consciousness, I couldn’t breathe. I just pray it don’t happen to nobody else.”

Attempts to reach Walker for comment weren’t successful Wednesday. He is no longer represented by the same law firm.

The case started on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2020, when a deputy saw a faulty taillight on a Jeep Cherokee. Walker, his girlfriend and a child were inside the vehicle because they’d paid the driver for a ride after dropping off a rental car.

Deputy D. Riddick, who initiated the stop, wrote in a report that he asked Walker for his license, though Walker was a passenger, because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Walker, required by law to wear a seatbelt because he was in the front, refused to identify himself because he wasn’t driving.

Attorneys for Walker have previously said he was wearing his seatbelt. But after the charges against him were dropped last month, an accusation was filed alleging that Walker was, in fact, not wearing a seatbelt. There is no body camera footage to settle the question because Clayton County deputies, even those like Myers who were assigned to patrols, don’t have them.

Georgia law says a person can be compelled to give identification to law enforcement officers if they suspect the person of a crime or a violation that could merit a ticket.

Riddick asked Walker to get out of the Jeep after Walker declined to identify himself. Walker stepped out, and Riddick decided to cuff him “until I identified him,” according to the deputy. Walker ran and resisted, elbowing Riddick in the face and biting Myers, Riddick’s report stated.

Last year, Walker’s then-attorney Shean Williams said the report “shows somebody trying to cover their (expletive).”

Riddick, who hasn’t been charged, resigned from the Sheriff’s Office days after the incident. Riddick didn’t immediately respond to a message left Wednesday.