By EMILY SHAPIRO and BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News
(CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.) — Roderick Walker, a Black man whose alleged assault and subsequent arrest by a Georgia deputy was captured on video, has been released from jail and is seeking medical treatment for his injuries, his attorneys said.
Walker, 26, suffered a mild traumatic brain injury from being beaten, his attorneys said.
“I lost consciousness. I couldn’t breathe,” Walker said at a Friday news conference.
“I was scared and I feared for my life,” Walker said. “I just pray and just hope that it don’t happen to nobody else.”
Walker’s left eye was filled with blood as he spoke Friday, one week after the incident.
Walker’s arrest was on Sept. 11 when he was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for allegedly having a broken tail light, his lawyers said. Walker was ordered out of the car, and when he questioned why the two white Clayton County Sheriff’s deputies asked for his ID, he was arrested, Walker’s lawyers said.
Witness video captured one of the deputies beating Walker in the face and body. Walker told the deputy, “I can’t breathe,” and Walker’s 5-year-old son, who was in the car, was heard yelling, “Daddy!”
That deputy was fired for excessive use of force. A criminal investigation of the incident was turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office.
Walker’s attorney, Shean Williams, said Friday, “They used an illegal, in my view, chokehold on him that almost killed him — similar to what we saw in the George Floyd situation.”
“He was literally fighting for his life,” Williams said.
The Clayton County Sheriff said on Sunday that Walker received medical treatment, including X-rays that detected no fractures to his head, before he was transferred to the Fulton County Jail, where he was being held on outstanding warrants.
On Thursday afternoon, Walker was released on bond.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said Sunday that he got a $25,000 signature bond expedited for Walker, but said that Walker remained in jail because he had a felony probation warrant for him out of Fulton County.
Williams alleged Friday that the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department has a “systemic pattern” of violating people’s civil rights.
Williams said, in Walker’s case, he believes the sheriff’s department tried to use the incident report to “deflect and cover up what we saw on that video.” Williams said the incident report was dated Sept. 11, but Williams claimed that for days after Walker’s arrest, he had asked for the report but the sheriff’s department said it wasn’t ready.
Walker’s criminal defense attorney, Torris Butterfield, said he expects that once the Clayton County district attorney conducts an investigation, she will dismiss the charges. Walker has not yet entered a plea.
Butterfield on Friday called for transparency and said the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department should come forward on the question of why the officer was fired and should release body and dash cam footage if it exists.
A sheriff’s office spokesperson did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on Friday.
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