A Georgia cop finds himself out of a job this weekend. On Friday, Police Officer Taylor Saulters hit Timmy Shaymar Patmon with a car. On Saturday, he was fired. The termination happened after Chief Scott Freeman reviewed the body cam footage and other evidence, according to a statement published by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. The officer was fired for violation of policy, and excessive use of force, Public Information Officer Epifanio Rodriguez told Law&Crime in an email.
You can see Saulters’ body-cam footage above. According to the ACCPD, he was part of a chase around 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Another officer, Hunter Blackmon, saw suspect Timmy Patmon, who police said faced a felony probation warrant.
Cops worked to verify if the warrant was valid and tried to make contact with Patmon, but he ran, police said. Blackmon chased on foot. You may have gathered by now that Saulters pursued in his patrol car.
According to police, the officer tried to block Patmon’s path with the vehicle twice. The first time resulted in Saulters striking a curb, and flattening the driver’s side front tire, cops said. Here’s how the statement described the second attempt:
… during the maneuvering of the patrol car Patmon impacted the right front quarter panel of Saulters’ car as Saulters was attempting to accelerate past Patmon.
Saulters hit Patmon, police said. The suspect ended up sustaining “scrapes and bruises,” police said. As as seen on video, the incident garnered immediate outrage from at least one bystander.
“How you hit that man with that car like that?” said a woman as officers handcuffed Patmon, then face down on the asphalt.
The suspect complained about the collision. Saulters and other cops later ran a post-mortem, to speak, on the incident.
“I didn’t hit him with the car,” he said. “I blocked him with the car.” He mentioned blowing out his tire on the curb.
“As long as you didn’t make some kind of overt movement to strike him you’re going to be fine,” a bearded officer said.
According to the statement, Freeman first put Saulters on administrative leave, started an internal affairs investigation, and asked the Georgia State Patrol, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation run their own probes.
GBI Director of Public Affairs Nelly Miles told Law&Crime in a phone conversation that their criminal investigation remains ongoing. At this point, they don’t have any more information to release, she said.
“The Georgia State Patrol is only investigating the circumstances surrounding the crashes and will not be investigating any criminal, civil or administrative violations which may have occurred during the incident,” said the agency in a statement obtained by Law&Crime.
Saulters could not be reached for comment as of press time. Patmon remains in his share of trouble as well. Athens-Clarke County jail records obtained by Law&Crime show that he remains locked up without bond on a charge of probation violation, and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. It is unclear if he has an attorney in this matter.
Note: Updated with information from Miles and the Georgia State Patrol.
[Screengrab via Athens-Clarke County Police Department]