The mother of a man who was hit by a police cruiser said her son admits he should not have run, but she says the officer in the video that captured it all never should have crashed into him.
Body camera video shows Timmy Patmon running from police, heading toward Nellie B Boulevard. Patmon was on probation and had felony warrants out for his arrest.
Officer Hunter Blackmon then got out of the patrol car and started chasing Patmon on foot. Officer Taylor Saulters is seen following in the patrol car.
In his first attempt to block Patmon from escaping, Saulters hit the curb and flattened a tire on his police cruiser. Seconds later, he swerved toward the suspect and careened right into him.
The incident happened Friday in an area known as Triangle Plaza.
Police Chief Scott Freeman made it clear to Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez that his decision to fire one of his officers was not an easy one, but the evidence left him with no choice.
"The Internal Affairs review found that he had used excessive force in this specific case, because it is not in our protocol to strike individuals in this manner,” Freeman said.
The city’s top cop terminated Saulters from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department after video showed the officer hitting the suspect with his police cruiser.
"The officer was very adamant that it wasn’t his attention to strike Mr. Patmon," Freeman said.
But when they combed through the Internal Affairs file and the incident report, the officer said,
“Patmon ran into the passenger side wheel well of my vehicle. I was hitting my brakes to prevent striking him but could not stop due to my tire being flat," Saulters said.
After further investigation, the chief said, “The officer accelerates the vehicle, there is some wheel movement where it appears that steering wheel is being turned to strike Patmon.”
Within 24 hours of this happening, Freeman fired the officer.
The suspect’s family said they’re thankful for his swift action.
"I am relieved that he fired. Justice was served,” said Patmon's mother, Tammy Brown-Patmon.
The suspect is set to appear in front of a judge on Monday morning for his first appearance.
Note: The officer is the son of a commander who works at the department in the Criminal Investigations Unit.
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