A Clayton County Deputy has been placed on administrative leave after a video of the officer smothering an unarmed Black Lyft passenger unconscious in Atlanta surfaced on Instagram Friday (Sept. 11) evening.
The incident reportedly occurred outside of the Georgia Department of Public Health vital records office near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport earlier in the day. An investigation has been launched.
The man was reportedly using ride-sharing car service Lyft with his girlfriend when the driver was pulled over due to his tail light allegedly being out. The driver didn’t have his driver’s license on him so the cops began to question the passengers and demanded that they show their IDs. The passengers responded by asking the cops why they needed to show their IDs when they didn’t do anything wrong.
The officers then asked the man to step out the car. That’s when things got intense and what is shown on camera. In the video, one officer can be seen holding the man down while another officer has him in a chokehold with his young child looking. Another angle shows one of the cops punching the man in his stomach.
At one point, the man can be heard saying, “I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die. I can’t breathe,” but the officer continued to strike him a few more times, including his head, until he was unconscious. Video shows blood streaming down his face as three officers attempt to handcuff him.
According to 11Alive, details on what led to the encounter have yet to be announced. Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said in a press release that he “ordered his entire Internal Affairs Unit to come in and begin an investigation that has been on going since 8pm.”
At this time, it is unclear what happened to the driver or the two passengers.