Cops Mistake Innocent Man

Disturbing body cam video shows three Georgia police officers, who were serving a warrant, tase an auto mechanic twice, without even requesting his identification — and it wasn’t even the right guy.

Patrick Mumford had been sitting in the passenger side of a vehicle parked in a driveway, when the three Savannah-Chatham Metro Police officers approached to serve a warrant for … Michael Clay.

They proceed to tase Patrick — two times — less than a minute after arriving on scene.

“What’s your name, man?” an unidentified SCMPD officer asks.

Taken aback, the African-American mechanic hesitates for a moment before answering, “Ok … Patrick.”

Ignoring the obvious discrepancy between the name on the warrant and Patrick’s verbal identification — and failing to request he produce identification — the officer tells him to stand and place his hands on the car. Though it seems apparent the cops felt they had their suspect, whom they assumed simply lied about his name, without verifying his identity there could have been no way to prove as much — nor to ensure they hadn’t made a grievous error.

“What did I do?” Patrick asks, and — understandably shaken by the inexplicable presence of three cops surrounding him — retreats to sit back down in the car’s passenger seat, as if he can tell what might be coming next.

“What happened? What did I do?” he repeats. As he inches further back in his seat, Patrick rightly points out, “Y’all didn’t tell me: what’d I do, man?”

An officer tells him, “You got a warrant, dude, you got a warrant—” as he grasps Patrick’s wrists and begins to struggle — with the wrong guy.

“I just came back from my probation officer,” Patrick insists, knowing the claim of a warrant couldn’t possibly be correct. Mumford pled guilty to the nonviolent offenses of misdemeanor marijuana possession and felony possession of a controlled substance in 2014 — but as it was his first offense, the Daily Beast explained, he was given probation in lieu of a conviction.

Mumford, skeptical of what’s taking place, tells a friend to contact “his people” to straighten out the mess. But as the struggle continues, considering Patrick had been accosted by the incompetent thugs in a private driveway, the officer gives the order to “tase him.”

A mere 38 seconds elapses between the time officers ask the man’s name and when one cop says, “All right, tase him.”

After that directive, the officers cease trying to physically remove Patrick from the vehicle and take an offensive stance a couple feet from the car, tasers trained on the man they misidentified as the subject of the warrant.

Still in disbelief, Mumford makes no furtive movements — rather, he sits in the car with his hands casually clasped in front of him.

“Get your hands out now,” the officer demands, ignoring Mumford’s hands in plain sight. “You’ve got … three seconds.”

“Hold on, man,” Mumford pleads, as the second officer orders him to get up.

The mechanic briefly moves to stand, but again — unsure why he would have warrant, or how his probation officer would somehow fail to inform him of one — he reconsiders, saying, “I’m not getting up, man. Show me the warrant.”

Ignoring Mumford’s three demands to be shown the warrant, the officer wearing the body cam begins counting down: “Three … two … all right, tase him!”

Raising his leg in a futile attempt to stave off the coming 2,000-volt shock from the officer’s taser, Mumford says, “Y’all ain’t let me know what’s going on.”

Pointing a finger, the officer bellows, “You have a warrant!”

For another few seconds, the exchange continues in the same way: Patrick Mumford demanding an explanation, as the cops refuse to offer one under the mistaken assumption he is actually Michael Clay.

Then an officer tases him — and as Mumford’s body stiffens with the intense electric shock — warns, “You’re going to get it again!”

… and tases him again.

Following the shock, a now-compliant Mumford tries to reach for his wallet to prove his identity.

Officers remove the wallet. “ID’s right,” the cop flagrantly lies as he drops the man’s ID on the hood of the car.

Another officer reads the ID aloud, “Patrick Mumford.”

“How is [my probation officer] not going to tell me that I got a warrant?” Mumford rhetorically asks, as cops hold him face down on the car. “Seriously. I just seen her. Call these people and ask them. Tell me I got a warrant.”

Realizing their brazen error and mishandling of the incident, officers proceed to summon a litany of excuses.

“Here’s the deal, dude,” the officer responds, “I don’t know if you got a warrant ‘cause you’re not who I’m looking for. But here’s the deal: When I ask you for ID because you looked a lot like the person we’re looking for …”

Mumford grimaces “OWWwwww,” in agony, briefly stopping the keystone cops’ ridiculous explanation, as they try to remove one of the taser’s metal prongs lodged in the man’s back. “Well that’s one stuck,” an officer notes.

“OK … when we ask you for ID because you look a lot like the person we’re looking for … living at this address? You give us ID.”

Of course, the very pertinent issue with the officer’s rationalization is none of the cops ever asked him to produce identification — and Mumford did, in fact, tell them his first name when asked.

Neighbors, equally stunned at the mistake, call the cops’ bluff. As officers try to insist Mumford looks like the real subject of the warrant, Clay, witnesses scoff.

“Who does he look a lot like?” a cop asks bystanders.

“I don’t know, who?” someone replies, honestly baffled.

“He knows who it is,” the officer counters.

“So, who is it?” the stunned witness insists.


“He is not Michael,” the miffed bystander asserts.

“OK … I know that now … but when I walk up there and ask him—”

“I said, ‘My name is Patrick’! Mumford interrupts, understandably irritated. “I said, ‘Patrick’!

Flimsy excuses continue with neighbors clearly aghast that two individuals — who even in pictures bear little, if any, resemblance to one another — could be confused in the minds of these incompetent cops.

But the worst aspect of the mistake, unfortunately, wasn’t the hasty tasing of a wholly innocent man.

Unbelievably, Mumford was charged with misdemeanor obstruction as a result of this case of mistaken identity — and though the charges were dismissed, the incident complicates his probation, which could be revoked, ultimately sending him to jail.

“The problem is, Patrick Mumford doesn’t look like Michael Clay, he ain’t Michael Clay, and they roll up on him like he is,” Mumford’s attorney, Will Claiborne, told the Daily Beast. “When he says his name is Patrick, they don’t believe him.”

As for Mumford’s minimal resistance to the officers’ menacing advances during the incident, Claiborne said, “He’s just a normal guy and was terrified out of his mind.”

According to the police report, viewed by the Daily Beast, Mumford “was given numerous reasonable attempts to comply with officers, but he refused and still physically/actively resisted.”

The body-cam wearing officer further claims in the report that Mumford “put his right foot up toward me as if he were going to kick me while I was aiming the Taser at him,” and “began to retreat back further into the vehicle as if he were reaching for a weapon.”

Body cam footage appears to contradict those claims, as Mumford’s motions seem purely a means of passive self-defense.

Nonetheless, as Claiborne also noted, “If they had adequate training, they would have known not all black men look the same.”

“I hope for the Savannah police department’s sake that this would be a teachable moment,” the attorney added. “It does add some extra context as to why folks can be fearful of law enforcement.”


Claire Bernish began writing as an independent, investigative journalist in 2015, with works published and republished around the world. Not one to hold back, Claire’s particular areas of interest include U.S. foreign policy, analysis of international affairs, and everything pertaining to transparency and thwarting censorship. To keep up with the latest uncensored news, follow her on Facebook or Twitter: @Subversive_Pen.