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Protesters Blame Clayton Co. Sheriff For Policing Issues

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Protesters and an attorney representing Roderick Walker, a man arrested and beaten by deputies during a traffic stop on September 11, 2020, say his arrest is drawing attention to bigger issues with the Clayton County Sheriff.

They blame Sheriff Victor Hill for things they say led to what happened on that day: deputies pinning Walker down and punching him, before they arrested and charged him with battery and obstruction of officers.

"I'm putting you on notice. I'm coming for you, Hill," said Walker's attorney, Shean Williams, while speaking at the protest. Williams is a partner with The Cochran Firm Atlanta. Williams says Walker cooperated during the traffic stop and simply asked the deputies why they wanted to see his ID if he was only a passenger in the vehicle. "The deputies got upset and pulled him out and started assaulting him beating him, and as a result, tased him, choked him and he almost died," Williams said.

Walker's supporters are demanding District Attorney Tasha Mosely dismiss the charges. Sheriff Hill fired one of the deputies involved for excessive use of force, but he has not identified the ones involved or provided any body camera footage.

This evening, The Cochran Firm Atlanta confirmed the District Attorney set a $25,000 bond for Walker. Hill has said the magistrate previously denied a signature bond, based on Walker's criminal record, which includes a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County for Cruelty to Children. Williams says his prior record is irrelevant.

"He's a coward," Williams said referring to Hill. "He wouldn't even tell you who the deputies are, but he's going to talk about my client. I think it's shameful and disgraceful."

Hill's time in office has been marred by several controversies and accusations of bullying residents.

Devin Barrington-Ward, an organizer with Movement For Black Lives Atlanta, said Hill is responsible for his agency's "unreasonable stops and search and seizures and road blocks," and he said the Clayton County Jail is a hotbed for COVID-19.

"He's being sued," said Barrington-Ward. "In addition to that, this sheriff has shot his ex-girlfriend and gotten away with it."

Other protesters commented on the many incidents that have weighed heavily on Metro Atlanta and the nation this year alone, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.

"The culture of policing needs to be changed," said Jeremy McLeod, a Clayton County resident. "I am tired of seeing Black men brutalized by the police. These are my brothers, these are my sisters," said Alexis Muir, a protestor who lives in DeKalb County.

CW69 reached out to Sheriff Hill for comment on Walker's case and all the allegations. There was no immediate response. Hill is running unopposed for re-election in November.

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