Man beaten by Clayton deputy in viral video now in Fulton County Jail

A photo shared by Roderick Walker's attorney shows him with a black eye while wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.

A photo shared by Roderick Walker's attorney shows him with a black eye while wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.

A man has been released from the Clayton County Jail days after he was beaten by a sheriff’s deputy during an arrest captured in a now-viral video. However, he is now in a different jail due to an alleged probation violation, records show.

After posting bond in Clayton County, Roderick Walker, 26, was booked into the Fulton County Jail late Monday night on an outstanding warrant. Court records show he admitted to behaving recklessly in a Nov. 20, 2016, incident in Atlanta that resulted in a 7-year-old relative being shot in the leg. The filings don’t explain what happened, and some documents were sealed by a judge. Walker was sentenced to 20 years probation in August 2018, with the first six months to be served in a probation detention center. Officials said he violated the terms of his probation in September 2019 by failing to tell his probation officer he had moved, according to a warrant obtained Tuesday by AJC.com.

Walker’s attorney, Shean Williams of the Cochran Firm, said he has already started working to resolve the outstanding probation matter in Fulton County. Walker will remain in the Fulton County Jail until the probation issues are settled, Williams said.

“None of this would be happening if it weren’t for the unlawful assault and arrest made by the Clayton County deputies, one of whom has already been terminated,” Williams said in a statement. “Mr. Walker and his family have suffered greatly throughout this ordeal.”

Walker and his girlfriend were passengers in an SUV that was stopped on a taillight violation Friday evening, Williams said. During the stop, deputies asked to see Walker’s driver’s license even though he was not the one behind the wheel, Williams said.

“Our client was asked for his ID and he responded that he did not have it and didn’t need it since he was not driving,” Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He inquired why he was being asked for his ID. That response obviously did not sit well with the officer.”

Editor’s note: The video below includes graphic content and language.

Williams said the deputy demanded his client get out of the vehicle and attempted to arrest him. That’s when bystanders began recording the encounter.

Cellphone videos captured by at least two bystanders show two deputies on top of Walker as he’s lying on the ground. One of the deputies is shown repeatedly hitting Walker as the other tries to handcuff him.

The deputy, whose name has not been released, was placed on administrative leave without pay Friday night after the videos emerged. He was fired the following day, AJC.com reported. It is unclear if the deputy who hit Walker is facing charges, but Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill said a “criminal investigation” into the incident will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office.

During the arrest, witnesses can be heard telling the deputies to get off Walker, who says he can’t breathe. There were two children inside the stopped SUV and they can be heard crying in the background.

“Our client ends up being beaten in his face and throughout his body to the point he goes unconscious — all because of an alleged traffic violation,” Williams said.

Walker can be seen bleeding from his face by the time he is led away in handcuffs. The former deputy seen throwing punches in the video told witnesses the man bit his hand.

Williams said the violent encounter shows the “unfortunate truth” of what can happen when Black Americans interact with law enforcement, and called for criminal charges against both deputies involved.

“Representing people of color, I often see where officers are escalating violence with actions disproportionate to the circumstances,” he said. “There’s no reason that a traffic violation should end up with someone being beaten in the manner that Mr. Walker was beaten.”

— Staff writer Joshua Sharpe contributed to this article.

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