SAVANNAH — The Savannah Police Dept. has issued a statement regarding allegations of excessive force in the May 2 arrest of Zayd Jackson. The statement is presented below in its entirety:
The Savannah Police Department has reviewed claims of excessive force during the recent arrest of Zayd Jackson on May 2 and have determined the Savannah Police officers acted appropriately and professionally during the encounter.
Officers initially had contact with Jackson, 35, during a traffic stop at White Bluff Road and Television Circle around 2:40 a.m. April 3.
The stop was initiated because of a defective tail light and the tag on his 1995 Chevrolet Trailblazer came back uninsured. Jackson provided his driver’s license and insurance card, but the officer was unable to confirm if the vehicle had valid insurance.
While speaking with Jackson, the officer could smell marijuana coming from the vehicle. He requested Jackson exit the vehicle, but he refused and rolled up his window. The officer opened his door and again requested Jackson exit the vehicle, but Jackson refused and fled at a high rate of speed, striking two curbs and almost striking a Savannah Police patrol vehicle.
Officers did not pursue Jackson at that time, but obtained warrants for obstruction, reckless driving, and fleeing and attempting to elude.
Around 9:40 p.m. May 2, an officer initiated a traffic stop on the same Chevrolet Trailblazer after he observed the driver driving aggressively in traffic and making lane changes without a signal in the area of Montgomery and 38th streets. Officers then learned that Jackson, who was driving the vehicle, had several outstanding warrants. Jackson appeared cooperative with officers and was placed in handcuffs behind his back.
While the officer was waiting for the warrants to be confirmed, Jackson began running from the scene and soon after fell, striking his face on the ground.
Officers immediately called for EMS and then transported Jackson to Memorial Medical Center to be treated. After being medically cleared from the hospital, Jackson was booked into the Chatham County Detention Center.
“After reviewing the body camera footage of the incident, I can say confidently that our officers treated Mr. Jackson professionally and courteously during the entire incident,” said Chief Roy Minter. “Upon learning of the injuries he suffered after falling, the officers immediately got him medical attention. It is unfortunate that the professionalism of the Savannah Police Department was questioned so quickly from an allegation made on social media. The Savannah Police Department takes these claims seriously, and if it was determined that officers’ actions were inappropriate, it would have been dealt with swiftly.”
The body camera footage of the incident will not be released at this time due to it being part of an active investigation.