A 58-year-old Black man will receive a $650,000 settlement after being stomped and badly injured by a South Carolina police officer. Clarence Gailyard walks with a cane due to metal rods in his legs and hips. Several years ago, Gailyard was struck and injured by a car when riding his bicycle.
On July 26, Gailyard was holding a piece of wood wrapped in shiny duct tape to fend off stray dogs when out walking. Someone called 911 reporting that he was carrying a gun. Orangeburg Public Safety Officer David Lance Dukes, 38, responded.
When Gailyard did not get on the ground fast enough after being ordered to do so by the officer, he was stomped in the head.
Body Camera Footage
Dukes’ body camera footage shows him pointing a gun at Gailyard, who was on his hands and knees. He yelled at Gailyard to get on the ground. As Gailyard struggled to comply, Dukes began stomping on the prone man. Gailyard’s head hit the asphalt. He was driven to the hospital by paramedics.
Police Officer Fired
A second officer, Aqkwele Polidore, attempted to diffuse the situation. That officer informed a supervisor that Dukes was lying about the incident. Her body camera footage was also used in the investigation.
Dukes, who is White, was fired from the Orangeburg Police Department two days later. He was later charged with first-degree felony assault and battery.
At a press conference held August 4, Gailyard said he was thankful for the body camera footage and for the actions of Polidore. “She’s a good officer. All officers are not bad – some are good,” he said.
Gailyard said every time he looks in the mirror, he sees the scar on his forehead, and “It’s not OK.” Gailyard added he wants his community to change.
Making It Right
Gailyard’s lawyer commended the city on how swiftly it acted in making things right for his client. The settlement agreement was reached in less than four months from the incident. The attorney said he had rarely seen a city remedy a situation involving police violence so quickly. The city also issued an apology to Gailyard.
The attorney also noted the changing of the police culture in a city that is three-quarters Black. The city announced it is creating a citizens’ committee to oversee how police officers treat people. It is also reviewing its use of force policies.
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