A white officer in Orangeburg, SC, has been relieved of his duties after being accused of stomping on a defenseless Black man’s head.
David Lance Dukes, 38, was charged with first-degree assault and battery after video footage showed him stomping on the neck and head of 58-year-old Clarence Gailyard during a July 26 arrest, ABC News reported.
After The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division reviewed body camera footage of the arrest, Dukes was fired and hit with the charges. Dukes was responding to a 911 call of a man carrying a gun when he approached Gailyard ordering him to the ground at gunpoint, as noted by WLTX.
The SLED agents say that while Gailyard was lying defenseless on the ground, Dukes forcibly stomped on the victim’s neck and head, knocking the victim’s head into the concrete.
“Every time I look in the mirror and see the scar on my face, it is not OK,” Gailyard said. “I’m still in pain. I hope the pain goes away, but I don’t think the pain is going away right now.”
However, Dukes’ lawyer, Justin Bamberg, is pointing the finger at the police department, claiming his client was only displaying learned behavior.
“When officer David Dukes goes and stomps on the back of Mr. Clarence’s head as he lay on the ground completely defenseless, the attitude that he shows is a reflection of the leadership,” Bamberg said. “And what we see is bad policing and unacceptable policing.”
Demario Julian, Gailyard’s cousin, recalled the arrest and said he and Gailyard were walking home when the officers arrived at the scene.
“Dukes jumped out his car with his gun drawn and I’m looking down the barrel of the gun, that’s basically what happened,” Julian said.
Julian also said Dukes accused him of throwing a gun into the bushes, which he claims was a lie. But Dukes’ lawyer is demanding the full release of bodycam footage, claiming the police department is guilty and not his client.
“This is not a David Dukes problem, this is a City of Orangeburg problem,” Bamberg said. “This is an Orangeburg Department of Public Safety problem. Attitude reflects leadership.”