Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Lancaster Taser incident: What we know, what we don't know

Lancaster Bureau of Police Sean Williams is seen in this undated police handout Lancaster Bureau of Police Sean Williams is seen in this undated police handout
Jeannette Daniel | 01 July, 2018, 12:55

The incident happened on South Prince and West Mifflin Street in the city.

The statement further described how the police had responded to a call about a disturbance in the area.

The persons involved told police that the man, later identified as Williams, was known to them and wanted to fight after they came to the defense of a woman being harassed by Williams.

According to police, the man involved wasn't being compliant, and that's when an officer made a decision to use force. Williams complies. The officers then repeatedly direct Williams to put his legs "straight out" in front of him.

A crowd of protesters gathered on the steps of an old courthouse in southern Pennsylvania on Friday evening, one day after a video posted on social media showed a local officer using a Taser on an unarmed black man sitting on a sidewalk.

The video has since gone viral. "Bernot instructed Williams to sit on the curb, and warned the man a Taser would be used if he didn't comply". City Councilman Ismail Smith-Wade-El promised action to the crowd, saying, "we are going to get this right - and you are going to make sure of it". "He was sitting down, though, bro!" "Non-compliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight with officers", said the the Lancaster Bureau of Police in a statement.

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Lancaster police said the stun gun, widely referred to as a Taser due to its brand name, was used because Williams failed to follow instructions.

'Like you, when I saw the video I was upset by it and it is of great concern to me.

"It's very concerning particularly with people of color in this community, this unnecessary force, these kind of things, and nobody being held accountable", said Eliza Booth, Lancaster Stands Up.

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace announced the investigation in a video posted to Facebook on Thursday.

"All use of force incidents, like this one, are reviewed by the Use of Force training cadre and Command Staff", police said. "For me, it reaffirms the need and my personal commitment to moving forward with body cameras", said Mayor Sorace (D). Moments afterward, a female officer named Shannon Mazzante tells Williams to cross his legs. Cops said they arrested him on an outstanding warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCP) and Public Drunkenness. Williams was arraigned and released on an unsecured $5,000 bail.

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