The City of Orangeburg, South Carolina, will be forking over more than half a million dollars to a Black man brutally assaulted by a police officer in the municipality. The cop used excessive force on the 58-year-old man, stomping him on his head.
Clarence Gailyard will receive $650,000, an apology from Orangeburg politicians, and a promise to review the city’s policy on how officers use force.
When talking about this disturbing case and why the city is handing over so much money, Orangeburg City Administrator Sidney Evering said, “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.”
According to reports, the city responded swiftly once made aware of the incident, firing the police officer within two days.
The incident dates from July 26 when Officer David Lance Dukes ordered Gailyard to lie flat on his stomach after approaching him following a 911 caller who believed Gailyard had a gun.
Gailyard, who was only holding a walking cane and stick, could not lie flat because he had rods and pins in his leg from an earlier accident when he had been hit while riding a bicycle. Dukes, 38, raised his foot and repeatedly smashed the older man’s head and neck into the pavement.
A second officer arrived on the scene and de-escalated the situation. He later told a supervisor that Dukes lied about what he did to Gailyard.
A warrant from the state law enforcement division said of the incident at the time, “Officer Dukes then approached the victim, who was on his hands and knees. While the victim was in a defenseless position on his hands and knees, Officer Dukes raised his right leg and forcibly stomped with his boot on the victim’s neck and/or head area. The force of the blow caused the victim’s head to strike the concrete. The victim suffered a contusion to his forehead and was transported by EMS.”
Footage from bystanders and bodycam from another officer captured the ordeal and also proved Dukes lied to superiors about the interaction. Dukes was fired within two days of the incident and charged with first-degree assault and battery.
“Our hope and expectations are that every interaction between the public and officers with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety will be professional and courteous,” Evering said in a statement.
“We understand that these officers have a difficult job and put their lives on the line every day, and for this, we are extremely grateful. The vast majority of our officers do their jobs with honor and ensure that the citizens they are entrusted to protect and serve are treated fairly and with respect.”
The city is committing to systemic change, starting with ousting the last police chief.
“We named an interim police chief who will be tasked with reviewing the department’s use of force policies and procedures. We are establishing a Citizen’s Task Force whose role, in part, will be to provide oversight and guidance with regard to interactions between our residents and officers with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety,” Evering promised.
“We will continue to learn from this situation and pledge to do our very best for those who live, work and travel through Orangeburg.”
The $650K will come from the city’s insurance.
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