State Watch

South Carolina city paying Black man stomped by officer $650K

A city in South Carolina will pay a Black man $650,000 after he was stomped on by a white police officer. 

The settlement comes after Orangeburg Public Safety Officer David Lance Dukes stomped on the head and neck of 58-year-old Clarence Gailyard, who had rods and pins in his leg, after he would not lie flat on his stomach. Police body camera footage showed that Gailyard hit his forehead on the concrete of the parking lot during the incident, according to The Associated Press.

Orangeburg officials issued an apology to Gailyard and said they would review the police department’s policies regarding use of force, the AP reported.

The incident occurred on July 26 when Gailyard was walking with a stick wrapped in shiny tape, but someone called 911 when they thought the reflective object was a gun. Gailyard said he moves slowly because of an injury to his leg from when he was hit by a vehicle while riding a bike, and he has the stick to protect himself if a dog were to attack him, the wire service reported. 

Dukes was fired two days after the incident, and the Orangeburg police chief also retired not long after that. 

Gailyard’s attorney, Justin Bamberg, told the AP there has been a spike in use-of-force cases in the last three years at Orangeburg police department, which serves a community of 13,000 residents, 75 percent of whom are Black. Bamberg also noted that he appreciated how quickly Orangeburg worked to help Gailyard and change the department’s culture, the AP added. 

“Every time I look in the mirror, I see the scar on my forehead, and it’s not OK. The only thing I want the community to do is change,” Gailyard said, per the AP.

The Hill has reached out to Bamberg and to the city of Orangeburg for comment. 

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