An ex-Georgia deputy was indicted Wednestday after video showed him repeatedly punching a man in the face during an arrest last year.
Brandon Myers, 25, who is white, was fired for “excessive use of force” shortly after a September video went viral showing him and another deputy pinning and beating 26-year-old Roderick Walker, a Black man. Walker was arrested after a vehicle he was in was pulled over for a broken taillight, and the encounter was recorded on camera by Walker’s girlfriend, Juanita Davis.
Myers, who was fired by the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, has now been charged with battery and violating the oath of office, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A grand jury chose not to indict Walker last month on two counts each of battery and obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers.
One of Walker’s attorneys, Shean Williams, said in September that Walker, Davis, their 5-month-old son, and Davis’ 5-year-old son from a previous relationship, had dropped off a rental car and paid a man $10 to drive them home. Police stopped the vehicle they were in for a broken tail light.
Williams said the deputies asked Walker, who was in the passenger seat, for his ID and Walker stated he did not have one and questioned why the police needed it. The deputies then demanded Walker get out of the vehicle and threw him to the ground as they struggled to handcuff him, Williams said.
“I was scared. I feared for my life, and I just pray, just hope that it don’t happen to nobody else,” Roderick Walker told reporters in September at his lawyer’s office, his left eye still bloodshot.
Walker suffered a mild traumatic brain injury from being thrown to the ground and beaten, said Jane Lamberti, an attorney for Walker, in September. The sheriff’s deputies denied Walker medical attention that he needed and asked for, she said.
Myers was hired by the sheriff’s office in November 2019. In less than a year, Myers was involved in five other use of force incidents during traffic stops, said Williams.
The indictment comes as Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is being investigated for using unreasonable force when ordering pretrial detainees to be restrained for hours even as they complied with police.
Hill was suspended from office in June and indicted in April because of federal civil rights violations against him.
In the April indictment, prosecutors alleged Hill used unreasonable force despite receiving training that force may not be used as punishment. He also approved a policy that emphasized the restraint chair “will never be authorized as a form of punishment,” but only used with a violent or uncontrollable person to prevent injury or property damage if other techniques are ineffective, according to the indictment.
The other deputy involved in the arrest, Deputy D. Riddick, resigned days after the September incident. He has not been charged.
Contributing: Nicquel Terry Ellis and Christine Fernando, USA TODAY; The Associated Press