A controversial video of Savannah-Metro police arresting the wrong man has now had more than 2,000,000 views on Facebook. That’s according to Savannah attorney William Claiborne who put the video up on Youtube and social media.
Clairborne says the condensed version shows three Metro officers tasing and then taking into custody a young African American man and indicating they have a warrant for his arrest. Later, they realize they have put handcuffs on the wrong person.
The so called “condensed” version of footage from three body cameras was quickly condemned by Savannah Metro Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin saying the short version was intended to be “misleading and inflammatory.” In an effort to be transparent, Lumpkin said the department was releasing all of the body camera video of the incident. You can see the chief’s statement and that footage here
But Claiborne said true transparency would be to do more. “We’re calling on the police department to release all of the personnel files for the three officers who were involved, their previous internal affairs investigation if there are any and the current internal affairs investigation if there is one. If there is not one we’d like to know why it hasn’t happened because this incident took place five months ago,” said Claiborne.
Clairborne says the video shows 24 year old Patrick Mumford being questioned by police as they approach him as he sits in a driveway. He tells them his first name. At some point, police say they have a warrant for his arrest and they proceed to take him into custody. Police Chief Lumpkin says because Mumford is uncooperative, he is tased. Claiborne says Mumford was afraid and questioned why police were trying to arrest him.
Later, after Mumford has been tased and handcuffed, officers look at Mumford’s driver’s license and realize he is not he person they are seeking. An officer can be heard saying “I don’t have warrant for you because you are not who I am looking for.” Later, an officer can be heard telling Mumford’s relatives that he did not show authorities identification. It was a detail that Claiborne took exception to quickly. “What is patently clear from every video, every camera, every angle is they never once asked Patrick for his ID, the idea that he was asked for his ID is false and that can be seen in every single video,” he said.
Clairborne also indicated that Mumford said he had just been to see his probation officer a few hours before. He says had there been some type of warrant for Mumford, he would have been taken into custody then. “So he knew there was no warrant for his arrest. He knew he was right and that police were wrong,” said Claiborne. “They just couldn’t get it in their head that that young Black man was right and that they were wrong and the fact that they couldn’t get that in their head is why they escalated the situation.”
Clairborne says Mumford wants an apology. “This is a teachable moment not only for (the) Savannah Police Department but the country to take an honest look at these things that sadly seem to happen all too frequently. The right thing to do would be to would be to finally admit that what happened to Patrick was wrong. A simple apology, that’s what Patrick wants at this point,” he said.
Clairborne also told us that although police realized they did not have the person named on the warrant that they arrested Mumford for obstruction. They have since dropped those charges, but he is stll in some danger of having his probation revoked and going to jail for up to seven years. He told us Mumford is now in school and has a job and on the right track. “He’s faced with losting all that because police made a mistake.
“As we stand here right now over 2,000,000 people have seen this video but there hasn’t been a single phone call placed to my office by the city attorney or any city official seeking to reach out to
us or communicate with us.”
When asked if he represents Mumford, Clairborne said yes, but says no decision has yet been made on whether to seek legal action.