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Clayton County Victim of Violent Arrest Granted Bond, Expected to be Released Soon

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Screenshot of footage taken during Roderick Walker’s arrest.
Screenshot of footage taken during Roderick Walker’s arrest. (Image via BET)

Update 9/17/2020 5:00 PM EST:

Atlanta native and father of four Roderick Walker, was recently subjected to a disturbing arrest by Clayton County Sheriff’s deputies. The 26-year-old Black man that was detained and beaten on video has been granted bond on Thursday. Walker is expected to be released from the Fulton County Jail relatively soon.

What We Know:

  • More information on the incident was revealed on Thursday, such as what the police had to say about what happened during Walker’s arrest. The incident report obtained by CBS46 states that the confrontation started from a normal traffic stop.
  • They asked Walker, who was riding in the passenger seat, for identification due to the fact he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Things escalated when Walker refused to identify himself, claiming he didn’t need to provide I.D since he wasn’t the one driving the vehicle.
  • They later proceeded to ask Walker to step out of the car with the intent to arrest him until the officers identified him. The deputies collectively stated that when they went to handcuff Walker, he took off on foot. Following a brief chase, the failure to apprehend him a second time resulted in the use of a stun gun. Bystander video footage then revealed the beating that took place after Walker allegedly continued to resist.
  • Some of the deputies involved in the incident have been named in the latest reports, such as Deputies Dekota Riddick and Brandon Myers. Another officer has been fired for being the one using excessive force. The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office has not yet released this officer’s identity.
  • After being taken into custody, Walker was bonded out of Clayton County Jail and later transferred to Fulton County jail on accusations of probation violations including first-degree cruelty to children and firearm possession by a convicted felon.
  • The sheriff’s office stated last Friday that it immediately launched an internal investigation that is currently ongoing. Clayton County District Attorney Tasha Mosley confirmed earlier this week that her office is investigating the incident.
  • The statuses of the deputies and a third officer remain unclear and the sheriff’s office said there is no bodycam or dashcam video of the event.

According to local news affiliate 11Alive, a report earlier this week noted Walker’s attorney Torris Butterfield is now working on Walker getting released from Fulton County Jail in order to be fully examined by medical specialists on his injuries. Walker currently has an emergency bond hearing in Fulton County scheduled for next Tuesday, Sept. 22nd

Original Story published 9/14/2020 10:00 PM EST:

Clayton County, in the state of Georgia, is the next area under fire for police-related incidents. A sheriff’s deputy was fired over the weekend for his display of “excessive use of force” after detaining a Black man and repeatedly beating him. The victim’s identity was late revealed by his attorneys as Roderick Walker, an Atlanta native and father of four children.

What We Know:

  • According to a statement by the sheriff’s office, “the Deputy who repeatedly struck Roderick Walker is being terminated from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office by order of Sheriff Victor Hill for excessive use of force.”
  • An investigation launched immediately after videos of the encounter on Saturday started circulating on social media. The sheriff’s office stated they were made aware of an incident involving a “Deputy using physical force on a man”. Shortly after, the deputy was placed on administrative leave on Saturday and consequently fired on Sunday.
  • As of late, officials have not shared the identity of the former deputy, nor any other officer involved in the recorded event. The sheriff’s office also stated Monday that the criminal investigation of this account of police brutality will be turned over and handled by the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office moving forward.
  • Videos shared on social media over the weekend show Walker being pinned to the ground by two officers while they attempt to arrest him during an incident on Friday. One of the officers is seen punching him in the face several times, causing Walker to bleed from his face. He also appears to lose consciousness at one point.
  • One video acquired by TMZ showed the moment a woman, who was later said to be Walker’s girlfriend, begged the officers to stop beating her boyfriend. “Get off him,” the woman is heard shouting at the officers. “Officer, he said he can’t breathe,” the woman says repeatedly.

  • Another video, that was harder to come by, allegedly showed another angle where Walker’s child is seen running around him as he was pinned down by officers. He was later heard shouting “Daddy! Daddy!” from the backseat of a vehicle.
  • Local news reports stated the incident was located just in front of the Georgia Department of Public Health in Clayton County. According to Walker’s attorney Shean Williams, he is currently being held in jail and was arrested on two counts of battery and obstructing law enforcement officers each.

Gerald A. Griggs, an attorney with the Georgia NAACP, tweeted imagery such as the injuries to Walker’s face. The sheriff’s office has said that Walker has received the proper medical treatment since the incident and suffered nothing more than moderate bruising. Calls for protest outside Clayton County Jail have happened since Sunday.

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Javier Garay is a digital intern with Unmutedco. He graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor of Science (B.S) in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. He is a contributor and editor for Black News Alerts (BNA), a BNA and BossFM social media contributor, and is the lead of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Crime

New Orleans 911 Operator Wanted After Allegedly Disconnecting Calls on Purpose

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A New Orleans 911 operator deliberately disconnected emergency calls without obtaining necessary information or relaying the callers’ emergencies to other dispatchers, and she is now facing arrest, according to authorities.

What We Know:

  • Precious Stephens, 25, is wanted on a count of malfeasance in office, and she remained at large Thursday, police said. She has been fired from her job as a 911 operator, officials said.

“(The district) has and will continue to cooperate with the … investigation into this matter and dedicated to providing any and all assistance to aid in (the) efforts.”

  • Stephens worked for the Orleans Parish Communication District, which dispatches first responders to 911 calls. On Aug. 24, the district reported to police that Stephens had deliberately disconnected 911 calls without obtaining vital information or informing other dispatchers about the callers who were in need of help.  The district conducted an investigation into the quality of a random set of calls when they detected the problems with Stephens during her shifts Aug. 20 and Aug. 21, officials said.  A statement from the district highlighted how its own internal protocols identified the issues with Stephens, who was immediately turned over to police and dismissed from her post.

Police asked anyone who knows where Stephens is to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.

Louisiana law defines malfeasance in office as unlawfully performing a job in public service. It can carry up to five years in prison.

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Crime

R&B Star R. Kelly Jurors Summoned for Sex Trafficking Trial

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The first phase of R. Kelly‘s trial began on Aug. 9 with a jury selection after several delays.

What We Know:

  • U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly asked potential jurors if they could keep an open mind about Kelly as he faces charges for abusing women and girls for nearly two decades. Donnelly also reminded jurors that Kelly was presumed innocent, so they should not feel influenced by any bad publicity the singer experienced because of the accusations.
  • Due to pandemic restrictions, the event took place online. Because of this, Kelly and the jurors faced difficulty popping up on the screen and the audio cut off at times.
  • During the trial, jurors will expect to hear testimonies from several of Kelly’s accusers. In addition, a judge ruled that officials may only use the women’s first names. Currently, Kelly faces sex trafficking charges. Scrutiny around Kelly’s sexual behavior has followed him for decades. These include charges for child pornography. Alongside the sex-trafficking case in New York, Kelly also faces sex-related charges against him in Illinois and Minnesota.
  • In addition, prosecutors might provide evidence that Kelly schemed with others to buy a fake ID for late R&B singer Aaliyah. In 1994, when Aaliyah was only 15, Kelly married and began a sexual relationship with her; it is also speculated he impregnated her. Prosecutors believe he married her so that she could not testify against him.
  • In regards to his sex-trafficking trial, Kelly denies any wrongdoing; he has pleaded not guilty to leading a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards, and other employees who recruited women and girls for sex. Concerning the criminal enterprise, federal prosecutors reported the group found victims at concerts and other venues. After recruiting the women and children, they would make travel arrangements so they could meet with Kelly. Kelly’s lawyers claimed the victims were “groupies” who showed up at his concerts and “were dying to be with” Kelly.

The case is scheduled to officially begin on Aug. 18 with opening statements.

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