Video of Black Man Punched, Pinned Down by Police Prompts Georgia Sheriff's Probe

On Friday, the Clayton County Sheriff's Office in Georgia launched an investigation after a viral video started circulating around social media showing two officers tackling a Black man, who was reportedly a passenger in a cab, in front of his children.

The events supposedly leading to the man being held on the ground were detailed in an Instagram post, written by someone claiming to be the man's cousin. The post said that the man was riding in a Lyft, which was pulled over for having a broken tail light.

Lyft tweeted that the company confirmed that the incident in the video did not happen while he was riding in a Lyft. Still, the company said it was in touch with the Georgia NAACP. "[W]e unequivocally stand against racism and unnecessary use of force," the tweet said.

We’ve been made aware of a disturbing incident in Georgia. While we confirmed this did not happen during a Lyft ride, we unequivocally stand against racism and unnecessary use of force. We are in contact w/ @Georgia_NAACP.

— Lyft (@lyft) September 12, 2020

When police asked the driver for his license, the driver said he didn't have it. The officer asked the passenger for his license, and he questioned why he needed to show his license. Officers asked him to step out of the car. It's not clear what happened before police wrestled the man to the ground.

WARNING: Video footage below contains some scenes and language that may be disturbing and offensive.

Police in Georgia pull over a Lyft driver then assault a passenger for not having his ID

— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) September 12, 2020

In an advisory shared by the Clayton County Sheriff's Office after midnight, the sheriff ordered an internal investigation seemingly following the video, and a deputy has been placed on leave as a result. While it does not get into details of the video, it does appear to reference the one in question.

"After being made aware of a video posted on social media involving a Deputy using physical force on a man, Sheriff Victor Hill ordered his entire Internal Affairs Unit to come in and begin an investigation that has been on going since 8 pm. The Sheriff has ordered that the Deputy involved be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation," the advisory said.

Videos that captured the incident show two police pinning the man on the ground. In one video, the woman filming can be heard pleading with police to get off of the man. At one point, it does sound like the man is saying that he can't breathe. One of the officers holding him down punches the man's face.

"Get the f**k off of him," the woman screams. "Don't kill him. He said he can't breathe."

Another officer runs over to handcuff the man. When the police get off of the man, his face is bloody. An officer orders the woman filming to stand back and get back in the car.

Police in Georgia pull over a Lyft driver then assaults a passenger IN FRONT OF HIS KID for not having ID (another angle part 2)

— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) September 12, 2020

Other videos captured from the scene show more of the incident. At one point, the cop who punches the man screams: "He bit my hand." A child screaming "daddy" can be seen in the back of the car watching the police officers tackle the man.

At the end of the last video, the man can be seen held against the hood of the police car as an officer approaches the man filming and tells him to back up.

In a statement after the video began circulating, the Georgia NAACP called for a deputy to be released and said that it was in touch with the man's family.

Newsweek reached out to the the Clayton County Sheriff's Office for comment.

police car
stock photo ChiccoDodiFC/iStock/Getty/Getty

Correction 8:08 p.m. EST: An earlier version of this story said that the tackled man was riding in a Lyft. The rideshare company confirmed after this story was published that the man was not riding a Lyft.

Update 9/12/20: 7:53 p.m. EST: This story has been updated to include information from the Georgia NAACP.