UPDATED: 9:35 a.m. ET —
A video of showing police brutalizing an unarmed Black man was making the rounds on social media Saturday morning and showed multiple cops beating him bloody and apparently unconscious on a street, and it was purportedly all because he either did not have his ID on him or did not show it to the cops.
An officer with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office has been placed on administrative leave and an investigation was underway for what police described as “a video posted on social media involving a Deputy using physical force on a man.” Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill “ordered his entire Internal Affairs Unit to come in and begin an investigation,” according to a press release.
The video was first posted to Instagram on Friday night by someone who said the victim was her cousin. It was not immediately clear if she was the one who filmed it, but she said it happened earlier that day.
The footage showed at least two officers smothering the man with their bodies on a street in an apparent attempt to restrain him. When both officers of the peace trained in de-escalation tactics could not manage to place one man in handcuffs, one cop repeatedly punched him in the face until he was not only bloody but also apparently unconscious.
This was all happening as the man’s apparent young son was watching.
It did not appear that the Black man was resisting.
The video opened up with the two cops wrestling with the Black man and one even punching him in the face. When the person filming tells the cops to stop punching him, the cop says, “he’s biting my hand.” The same cop then presses the man’s head into the pavement as the man yells, “I’m gonna die!” and “I can’t breathe!”
The woman filming the video screams, “No, don’t kill him! He said he can’t breathe!”
That’s when the same cop decided that punching the man in the face multiple times was the best course of action.
“We can’t get him in handcuffs,” one cop says as a third officer is seen rushing into the frame to assist.
The Black man’s legs can be seen shaking as the three cops still can’t manage to put an unconscious man in handcuffs.
As the cops step away briefly, the video shows blood streaming from the unresponsive man’s face.
According to the Instagram post, the man was in a ride-sharing car, perhaps a Lyft, when the driver was pulled over because his “tail light was out.” The driver “didn’t have his License.” When the cops asked the passengers (“my cousin and his girl”) for their IDs, they asked why it was necessary to identify themselves when they had done nothing wrong.
That’s when, according to the IG post, the cops “told him to get out the car and this what happened”:
A separate video recorded from a wider angle showed a little boy panicking while the man was being beaten by the police. It gives a clearer picture of what exactly transpired.
The first Instagram post of the police encounter was broken up into two videos, but someone tweeted the full video along with the commentary, “Police in Georgia pull over a Lyft driver then assault a passenger for not having his ID.”
Local news outlet 11Alive reported that the details that led to the encounter had not been officially announced.
It was unclear what happened to the car’s driver.
It was also unclear if the officers involved were wearing body cams, let alone activated them during the encounter.
The police violence took place amid nationwide protests against police brutality, racism and what is far too often the deadly combination of the two.
This is America.
This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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