Gwinnett County, GA — Walking across the street in a manner not fit for the police state can often end in serious injury or death — not necessarily because of a car running you over either. The enforcement of jaywalking laws in this country have gone to the extreme and a new lawsuit out of Georgia shows just how bad it can get. A man was tasered three times by cops for walking across the street the wrong way.
The man is now suing two Gwinnett County police officers, their department and the county for $10 million for repeatedly using a Taser on him during an arrest for jaywalking, according to Channel 2 Action News.
In March of 2019, John Efford wasn't robbing a store, trafficking children, or stealing cars — he was on his way to a job interview. Nevertheless, he was stopped by two cops who repeatedly deployed their tasers on him.
The police officers claimed to be justified in the deployment of said tasers because Efford didn't use the crosswalk to cross the street on the way to his job interview. What's more, they claim, he didn't immediately prostrate himself in front of the officers when they tried to extort him for it. But the video from the officers' body camera tells a different story.
“I was terrified,” Efford told WSB-TV.
Efford originally thought the officers were approaching him with guns drawn when he crossed the street and he thought they were going to kill him. As the video shows, when police tell Efford to get on the ground, he does.
Efford is seen kneeling on the street with his hands in the air. The look on his face is sheer horror. As Efford kneels down, one cop deploys his taser, demanding he get down further. Efford then gets down further, despite writhing in agony from the 50,000 volts flowing through his body.
“Hands behind your back now! Cuff him. You’re going to get Tased again,” an officer is heard on video.
Then, for good measure, the officer deploys the taser again, this time in the middle of Efford's back as he is trying to put his hands behind his back with his face being rubbed into the street. Before the the entire ordeal would end, police would taser Efford three times — over a stop for walking across the street improperly.
As the officers walk Efford back to the car to kidnap him — after assaulting and torturing him — they tell him what the stop is over.
“You jaywalked again right in front of us. Again, bro,” the officer said.
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“Y'all doing all that over jaywalking?” Efford responded..
Yes, they were doing this over jaywalking. In the eyes of police, they need to protect people from walking across the street outside of a crosswalk because they could get hurt. So, if you walk across the street outside of a crosswalk, police will hurt, kidnap, and extort you — to protect you, of course.
“This video is a classic case of police brutality,” Efford's attorney, Jackie Patterson told WSB-TV. “All you had to do was write him a ticket and let him go.”
After terrorizing the man with tasers, and kidnapping him, police then charged Efford with jaywalking and obstruction. Luckily for Efford, however, when prosecutors saw the video, they realized there was no reason to arrest Efford and they dropped all the charges.
Despite the charges being dropped, police stand by their officers' actions claiming the use of force — tasering a compliant man with his hands in the air begging not to be killed — is justified.
According to WSB-TV, a major with the Gwinnett police department watched the video and pointed out that the video is not consistent with what the officers said happened. Despite this fact, neither officer faced so much as a slap on the wrist.
In fact, one of the officers involved, Charles Bynum, was allowed to resign in the midst of the investigation while facing criminal charges for another incident.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a police report indicated that Bynum faced multiple charges, including making terroristic threats, false imprisonment, battery, criminal trespass and pointing a gun at another, after an argument with his boyfriend on Oct. 2, 2019. Bynum was booked into the Gwinnett jail and later released on a $5,700 bond, Deputy Shannon Volkodav said.
“It’s clear that Gwinnet County should’ve known that they had a violent man on the force,” Efford’s attorney, Jackie Patterson, told Channel 2.
But then again, if cops in Gwinnett can watch Grand Theft Auto, crash into an innocent woman, leaving her in a coma, and not lose their job, we shouldn't expect them to care much about corruption and violence.