A Georgia police officer fired a day after video captured him hitting a suspect with his patrol car during a chase has been hired by a nearby sheriff’s department.
Taylor Saulters, who was a rookie in the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, was picked up by the Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, its sheriff announced on Facebook.
“I have known him since he was a baby and I know he will be a great asset to our county,” Sheriff David Gabriel said.
Saulters, who was fired on Saturday, remains the subject of a probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations for the June 1 incident, the GBI confirmed to HuffPost.
Gabriel, in announcing Saulters’ hiring in a statement, put his own spin on the action that got Saulter fired. The sheriff said Saulters’ name may sound familiar because of the incident “where a fleeing felon struck his patrol car while he was attempting to apprehend him.”
Video taken from inside Saulters’ patrol car shows him driving after Timmy Patmon, 23, who was fleeing on foot through a neighborhood while wanted on a felony probation warrant.
During the chase, Saulters drove over a curb and blew out a tire. After unsuccessfully attempting to use his vehicle as a roadblock he drove his car into Patmon, knocking him to the ground.
Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Scott Freeman told WSBTV that Saulters was “very adamant that it wasn’t his intention to strike Mr. Patmon,” though an investigation found that he accelerated his vehicle and appears to have turned his steering wheel to hit him.
Philip Holloway, an attorney representing Saulters, told the station that his client’s firing was an injustice but that he had received multiple job offers.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Saulters graduated from the police academy less than a year ago. His father, police Capt. Jerry Saulters, heads the Athens-Clarke County Police Department’s criminal investigative division, WSBTV reported.
The Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.