A South Carolina city is paying $650,000 to a Black man who was stomped in the head by a White police officer upset that the man could not quickly lie flat on his stomach because of rods and pins in his leg, reports ABC News/Associated Press.
Orangeburg officials also have apologized to Clarence Gailyard and are reviewing the police department’s use of force policies, City Administrator Sidney Evering said in a statement released by Gailyard’s lawyer Justin Bamberg. The city’s insurance will cover the payment.
Gailyard was walking with a stick wrapped in shiny tape on July 26 when someone mistook the reflective object for a gun and called 911, investigators said.
Orangeburg Public Safety Officer David Lance Dukes ordered Gailyard to the ground and when the 58-year-old didn’t immediately drop, the officer stomped on his head and neck, causing his forehead to hit the concrete of the parking lot, according to police body camera video.
Gailyard said he moved slowly and often walks with a cane because of pins and rods in his leg from being hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle. He also said he was carrying the stick to protect himself from potential dog attacks.
The city’s statement said most officers do their difficult jobs well — a second officer tried to calm the situation and told a supervisor who came to the scene later that Dukes lied about his actions — but swift, fair action must be taken when officers do wrong.
“When an officer falls short of these expectations and conducts themselves in ways unbecoming to their department and the City, that officer must and will be held accountable,” Evering said.