Legal Issues in Roderick Walker Case
Aisha: …tonight La’Tasha Givens is showing the video to an attorney to get you answers to your top three questions.
La’Tasha: Eleven Alive viewers reached out to us wanting to know if a deputy can legally ask a passenger for I.D. when the driver is pulled over for a traffic violation. Attorney Page Pate gives his legal perspective.
Page: There’s no law in place. It’s a question of interpretation. What is reasonable? You can absolutely pull a car over if you have reason to believe that there’s a traffic violation and obviously those passengers are going to be detained too.
La’Tasha: Pate says the district attorney ultimately decides if the deputy had a good enough reason.
Page: Either the detention of the passenger for the identification is lawful or it’s not. If it’s not lawful, then everything the officer did from that point forward to hold on to Mr. Walker, even aside from punching him in the face, just holding on to him is a crime.
La’Tasha: Another question, can Walker legally be released since the deputy was fired for excessive use of force? Sheriff Victor Hill says he ordered a signature bond but the court denied it because Walker has outstanding warrants in Fulton County which must be resolved first.
Page: Clayton County is correct. If he has a pending hold from another county, say he’s got a probation hold from a different county or a pending arrest warrant from some other county, then Clayton County cannot decide on their own to let him go. They have to get clearance from wherever this other case may be pending.
La’Tasha: And another top question, could the deputy being fired impact potential lawsuits?
Page: Normally, if that officer is still employed by the county then the county is going to step up, defend the officer in the case and pay any damages. But if they’ve cut ties with that officer, they’re basically saying he’s on his own. So Clayton County’s not responsible for this, that officer is. And you want to go after somebody, you go after the officer.
La’Tasha: And Pate says in many cases individuals don’t often have the same insurance or assets that counties have that are actually worth going after in a civil lawsuit.
Reporter: Tonight, the Gulf Coast is…
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.