A police officer in Georgia who was fired Saturday after body camera footage showed him hitting a fleeing suspect with his car has been hired by a neighboring police department.

Taylor Saulters, a former officer for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in Georgia, on Monday was hired by the neighboring Oglethorpe County Sheriff's Office.

Oglethorpe County Sheriff David Gabriel announced the news on Facebook Monday afternoon, saying, “I have known him since he was a baby and I know he will be a great asset to our county.” 

The sheriff further defended his decision to hire Saulters, adding that he had “no reservations” in regards to the incident over the weekend when “a fleeing felon struck his patrol car.”


“If his name sounds familiar it is probably due to the fact that he was recently terminated by ACCPD for an incident where a fleeing felon struck his patrol car while he was attempting to apprehend him,” Gabriel wrote in the post. “In talking to Saulters the first question he asked was if our citizens supported law enforcement. Without hesitation I assured him they did and that we have excellent people that live in our county. I have no reservations about Dep. Saulters serving this community.”

The rookie police officer was fired for using excessive force after striking a man with his patrol car during a pursuit.

On Friday, Saulters and his Athens-Clarke County police partner had stopped Timmy Patmon, who had an open warrant for a probation violation, when the suspect fled on foot, according to authorities. Saulters' partner, Hunter Blackmon, chased Patmon on foot while Saulters got into his police cruiser and chased after the suspect.

Video released by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department showed Saulters swerved left in front of Patmon, but not effectively stopping the suspect from running.

Saulters then accelerated again and turned right, hitting Patmon with the right front quarter panel of his car. Patmon rolled up on the hood of the car and then fell to the pavement.

Patmon was then taken into custody by the two officers as bystanders assembled and shouted at the two members of law enforcement for hitting Patmon with the cruiser.

Athens Police Chief Scott Freeman placed Saulters on administrative leave before firing him Saturday after reviewing the body camera footage.