Here’s another story of a black man in the United States doing what he was told to do — and being punished for it.
Viral cell phone footage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, shows a police officer tasering a non-violent, unresisting man who is sitting on the curb and trying to comply with their confusing orders.
According to the Lancaster Bureau of Police, officers responded to a 911 call that said a man was chasing a group of three people with a bat.
Officer Shannon Mazzante was the first one to arrive at the scene of the disturbance. Officer Philip Bernot came a short while later to assist her.
Facebook user Jay Jay recorded the interaction of the two police officers with 27-year-old Sean D. Williams. As the video starts, Bernot is seeing telling the man to sit on the curb. He also warned him that if he failed to comply, he would be electrocuted by a taser. He then ordered Williams to stick his legs straight out in front of him, who does so. However, off-camera, Mazzante can be heard telling Williams to cross his legs. Confused, the man again changes their position — but as soon as he tries to cross them, he is shot in his back by Bernot’s taser.
As Williams writhes in pain on the ground, the witness can be heard, “Oh, come on, bro. You really gonna tase him. He was sitting down, bro.”
Williams was then arrested and placed in police custody.
According to the police department, officers are instructed to tell suspects to stretch out their legs and then cross them at the ankle. This is done to ensure that if someone is going to resist or is thinking about fleeing, he will have to take the time to bring his legs back under him to do so. However, anyone who has seen the video would agree that the two officers combined orders were not clear enough.
Williams has an outstanding warrant for possession of controlled substance and public drunkenness, the police said. He was arraigned and subsequently released on a $5000 bond.. The officers also reported they did not find any bat on the scene.
Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace showed alarm after she saw the video.
“We take the use of force very seriously,” Sorace said. She said the incident has “affirmed my resolve to implement a body camera program here in the City of Lancaster.”
Blanding Watson, president of the Lancaster chapter of NAACP pushed for accountability of the officers involved.
“This event highlights the need for strengthening the accountability and trust which necessarily characterizes a productive relationship between communities and law enforcement,” Watson said. “Such a relationship is more important than ever.”
Considering the fact cops have gotten away with murder, despite their misconducts being recorded on video, it doesn’t look like anything will happen to Mezzante and Bernot.
Banner / Thumbnail : TK James via REUTERS