A South Carolina man who was stomped in the back of the head by a police officer was awarded a $650,000 settlement, the New York Times reports.
Body camera footage from July 26 shows Clarence Gailyard, who has metal rods and pins in his leg and hip, being stopped by Officer David Lance Dukes. Then, the officer points a gun at Gailyard, who is on his hands and knees.
“Get on the ground!” Dukes yells before stomping Gailyard on the back of the head, causing his forehead to hit the ground.
Back in August at a news conference, Gailyard said he was still in pain. “Every time I look in the mirror and see the scar on my face, it is not OK,” he explained.
On Wednesday, along with compensating Gailyard, city officials said that the city would also establish a citizens’ task force to “provide oversight and guidance with regard to interactions” between Orangeburg police and residents.
Sidney Evering, the Orangeburg city administrator, said in a statement that the “vast majority” of the city’s police officers “do their jobs with honor and ensure that the citizens they are entrusted to protect and serve are treated fairly and with respect.”
“However, 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,” he added. “That’s exactly what we have done in this instance.”
Justin Bamberg, Gailyard’s attorney, said that his client was “pleased to put this very troubling incident behind him.”
“We appreciate how quickly Orangeburg city leadership moved to make this right by Mr. Gailyard,” Bamberg said. “I’ve handled numerous cases involving police violence previously, and rarely have I seen a city swiftly accept responsibility and also work to ensure that this never happens to another person.”
Bamberg acknowledged Aqkwele Polidore, a sergeant at the scene of the crime “who refused to cover for a co-worker.”
“This incident should give all good officers around the country a positive sign that it is OK to take a stand against police brutality in your agencies,” Mr. Bamberg said. “Amazing things can happen when dedicated law enforcement officers choose what’s right over what’s ‘blue.’”
Bamberg also credited the city of Orangeburg for “changing its police department for the betterment of both its own officers and the citizens it serves.”
“This is what progress looks like,” he said.
After an investigation into the incident, Dukes was terminated and charged with first-degree assault and battery.
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