Georgia cops were looking for a man named Michael Clay when they approached a man named Patrick Mumford, ordering him to state his name.
Mumford, who was sitting inside a car parked in a residential front yard minding his own business, was taken aback by the surprise visit from a group of police officers, so he asked why they were asking for his name.
But Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan officer Sharif Lockett made it clear that he was not going to ask again, so Mumford told him his name was “Patrick.”
In fact, Mumford repeated his first name in case the officer missed it the first time around.
But that didn’t stop Lockett from ordering him out of the car to be frisked and handcuffed, claiming he had a warrant for his arrest.
When Mumford insisted on knowing what he had done wrong, demanding to see the warrant, he was tasered twice and handcuffed.
Then, with a cop pressing his face against the hood of the car, police pulled out his wallet and discovered they had the wrong guy.
“I don’t know if you got a warrant because you’re not who I’m looking for,” Lockett said the day of the incident, which took place on February 1, 2016.
“But here’s the deal, when I ask you for ID because you look a lot like the person I’m looking for, then living at this address, you give us ID.”
But the video shows Lockett never asked for his identification. He asked for his name to which Mumford told him twice.
Lockett then tried to justify the abuse to neighbors by saying he looks a lot like Michael Clay, an assertion the neighbors disputed.
Clay, 23, weighs 175 pounds and stands at five-feet, seven inches. Mumford, 24, weighs 135 pounds and stands at five-feet, three inches. A difference of 40 pounds and four inches.
Knowing he was recording himself, Lockett continued with the lie that Mumford refused to provide his identification, claiming he had asked for it three times.
Later in the video, he claims he asked for his identification four times.
“Four times I asked him and it’s all in my video,” Lockett lied, holding up four fingers.
Mumford, who had to be transported to a hospital to have the taser prongs removed, ended up jailed on a charge of obstruction, which has since been dismissed.
However, because he was on probation for non-violent drug charges, he is now facing seven years in prison for a probation violation.
“We just wanted to share this story because it’s like so many that are taking place throughout the country,” attorney Will Claiborne said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
Claiborne said the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department has not provided Lockett’s internal affairs history, if he has one, but the photo posted above was found on Pinterest where he pretends to be a good cop.
UPDATE: Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Chief Joseph H. Lumpkin responded to the video with a press release, accusing attorney Will Claiborne of editing the footage to paint the officers in a negative light.
He also said he was launched an internal investigation into the incident, something that should have been done months ago, and was sure to say that any misunderstanding in the arrest was in order to “protect the public.”
The video released by the defense attorney was edited and omits significant portions wherein a relative asks the individual to be cooperative. The relative on the video also suggests the arrestee is similar in appearance to the wanted person, who purportedly lived at that residence. The edited video also omits other calm interactions the officers had with relatives and the arrestee.
The incident and video was brought to the attention to the Chief of Police on July 12, 2016 and we have begun an administrative investigation of this incident.
Police officers nation-wide face complex duties which require them to make decisions in an instant. They must simultaneously decide how to protect the public, the involved citizens, and protect their own safety.
The chief released three body cams of the incident from the three officers, which we’ve posted below the attorney’s edited video.