As of August 7, 2021, a White South Carolina police officer was out of a job and under arrest for stomping the head of a disabled Black crime suspect.
On July 26, 2021, it happened in Orangeburg when a relative of 58-year-old Clarence Gailyard called police to complain that he was banging on her door. That call went out to officers, warning that Gailyard was armed, though the relative later insisted she did not say so.
Responding to Orangeburg Public Safety Department (OPSD), Officer David Lance Dukes, 38, found Gailyard walking nearby with Demario Julian's cousin. Dukes ordered the men to the ground, and Julian immediately complied. But Gailyard, who carried a stick wrapped in bright tape he used as a shillelagh, took longer, explaining he’d been disabled in a recent car accident. That’s when Dukes stomped on his head to force him down more quickly.
He later told his sergeant that he believed the walking stick was a gun and that Gailyard was resisting arrest. But body-cam video from Dukes’ partner, OPSD Officer Aqkwele Polidore,
refuted that testimony. She immediately worked to de-escalate the situation and later reported Dukes’ misconduct to their superiors.
OPSD Chief Mike Adams reviewed the evidence and fired Dukes two days later, turning the case over to the state's Law Enforcement Division, which arrested and charged Dukes with first-degree assault and battery. He was freed on a $10,000 bond to await trial and ordered not to have any firearms. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Gailyard has retained an attorney, Justin Bamberg, who said the assault is part of an increase in use-of-force incidents by law enforcement in Orangeburg, where about 75 percent of the city’s 13,000 residents are Black.
Polidore, who is also Black, has been promoted to sergeant.
Sources: Orangeburg Times & Democrat, KIRO-TV
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