An Athens-Clarke County police officer was fired on Saturday, just 1 day after he “intentionally” hit a man with his police vehicle. He has already been hired by another police department.
Taylor Saulters has been out of the police academy for less than a year and has already been fired for using excessive force, but that didn’t stop Oglethorpe County Sheriff David Gabriel from hiring him only days afterward, reported WUGA.
The internal affairs report revealed that Saulters intentionally steered his vehicle toward Timmy Patmon, 24, who had an outstanding warrant for a nonviolent drug possession charge, and Saulters used “poor judgement” when he ran into the fleeing suspect.
“There are no facts that were uncovered that would have led to the justification for this level of use of force in this incident,” the report concluded.
Saulters maintains that he did not intentionally hit Patmon, saying he had trouble controlling the car due to a flat tire.
Gabriel posted on Facebook to announce hiring the rookie cop who was previously fired for using excessive force:
“I have known [Saulters] since he was a baby and I know he will be a great asset to our county,” he said. “As a citizen of Oglethorpe County you will find the wisdom of this decision in getting a deputy of this caliber.” Gabriel was a friend and coworker of Saulter’s father, Jerry Saulters, an Athens-Clarke County police captain.
Patton was spotted by Saulters and officer Hunter Blackmon during their patrol route. Blackmon gave chase on foot while Saulters ran the suspect down in his patrol car. Body camera footage shows Saulters intentionally swerving to run into Patmon from behind.
Patmon was taken to the hospital and treated before being taken to Clarke County Jail and charged with obstruction of law enforcement and violation of probation.
The Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Bureau of Investigation are expected to conduct their own investigations into the incident.