A Georgia police officer has lost his job after dashcam video from his patrol car captured him plowing into a suspect with his car during a chase.
Taylor Saulters of the Athens-Clarke County police department, who was initially suspended after the June 1 chase, was fired on Saturday, his department announced in a statement.
The decision followed a department review of the video that showed Saulters driving after 23-year-old Timmy Patmon, who was running on foot through a neighborhood while wanted on a felony probation warrant.
During the chase, Saulters drove over a curb and blew out one of his vehicle’s tires. After unsuccessfully pulling in front of Patmon as a roadblock, he then charges his car after Patmon, knocking him to the ground.
Patmon was taken to a hospital where he was treated for cuts and bruises, the police department said. He was then taken to the Clarke County Jail for the probation violation and a charge of obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
A police department spokesman told WSBTV that officials don’t believe Saulters intentionally hit Patmon with his vehicle, but that he was negligent in the incident.
The suspect’s mother, Tammy LaShay Brown Patmon, told the Atlanta-based station “it’s police brutality, it sure is. It’s wrong.”
Witnesses to the crash can be heard in the video screaming at the responding officers while questioning Saulters’ actions.
“Why’d you hit that man with your car like that?” an approaching woman shouts.
While handcuffing Timmy Patmon on the ground, Saulters threatens to use a stun gun on him when Patmon doesn’t immediately place his hands behind his back.
When the young man doesn’t immediately stand up as instructed by Saulters, saying he’s hurt from getting hit with his car, Saulters tells him: “Oh, I know, I know what I did. Why’d you run?”
During a later recorded conversation with fellow officers, Saulters said the vehicle collision was unintentional.
“I didn’t hit him with the car, I blocked him with the car,” he said. “He ran into the hood of my car and bounced off.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will conduct an investigation to determine whether Saulters will be criminally charged, the police department said.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Saulters graduated from the police academy less than a year ago. His father, police Capt. Jerry Saulters, heads the department’s criminal investigative division, WSBTV reported.