Officer Who Fired Stun Gun at Unarmed Black Man Will Not Be Suspended
A Pennsylvania police officer who was recorded making use of a Taser on an unarmed black man in a extensively shared video will not be fired or suspended, officials said.
Danene Sorace, the mayor of Lancaster, Pa., acknowledged at a news conference on Friday that some members of the neighborhood would find the decision &ldquoextremely upsetting.&rdquo
&ldquoSo who is accountable?&rdquo she asked. &ldquoI am. I am accountable, as mayor, for current policies, procedures, coaching, hiring practices and more. It&rsquos on me.&rdquo
The episode, which took spot on June 28, remains below investigation by the police and the prosecutor&rsquos workplace. Preliminary findings showed that the officer complied with use of force and Taser policies, which let an officer to use force when a suspect fails to respond to multiple verbal commands, Ms. Sorace mentioned.
Video of the episode has been viewed a lot more than two.8 million times on Facebook and a lot more than 6.two million times on Twitter.
The footage showed the officer, Philip Bernot, repeatedly asking Sean D. Williams to straighten his legs as Mr. Williams was sitting on a curb.
&ldquoLegs straight out or you&rsquore receiving Tased,&rdquo Officer Bernot said.
Mr. Williams started to straighten his legs. Yet another particular person can be heard yelling, &ldquoPut your legs straight out and cross them now.&rdquo
Mr. Williams started to bend his knees, bringing the soles of his feet with each other, and Officer Bernot, who was standing behind Mr. Williams, employed the stun gun on him.
Officer Bernot could not be reached for comment on Saturday, but the Lancaster City Bureau of Police described in a statement what occurred in the moments ahead of.
Officers stopped Mr. Williams right after getting a 911 contact about a man with a baseball bat, the police said. When 1 of the officers arrived, there was no bat to be discovered, but the officer saw three men and women telling Mr. Williams to get away from them, the statement stated.
The officer told Mr. Williams &ldquoseveral occasions&rdquo to sit down and he refused to comply, the police mentioned. Rather, he kept asking a woman in the group to give back his Social Safety card.
A couple of minutes later, Officer Bernot arrived and instructed Mr. Williams to sit on the curb, the police stated. The group of folks later told the police that Mr. Williams had exhibited &ldquoerratic behavior&rdquo and &ldquowanted to fight.&rdquo
The police stated Mr. Williams was identified to have an outstanding criminal warrant for possession of a controlled substance and public drunkenness. He was arraigned and released on $5,000 bail.
One of Mr. Williams&rsquos lawyers, Brian R. Mildenberg, mentioned on Saturday that it was &ldquooutrageous&rdquo Officer Bernot would not be &ldquoremoved from the streets&rdquo pending an investigation, and that the commands Mr. Williams received from the officers had been inconsistent.
&ldquoOn behalf of my client, I reiterate our respectful demand that this police officer be suspended pending this investigation,&rdquo Mr. Mildenberg said. &ldquoHe was completely peaceful and compliant and there was completely no purpose to use violence upon his particular person.&rdquo
The Lancaster branch of the N.A.A.C.P. also rejected Ms. Sorace&rsquos account of the officer&rsquos actions.
Mr. Williams is suing Lancaster and Officer Bernot for violating his civil rights and making use of excessive force, according to a complaint filed in federal court on Monday. Mr. Williams&rsquos lawyers also hope to acquire a federal court order mandating police reforms and further training, Mr. Mildenberg stated.
According to Ms. Sorace, the city&rsquos policies regarding use of force were already becoming revised prior to the episode involving Mr. Williams. Beneath the proposed new policy, &ldquoan officer will only be capable to use a Taser when faced with direct physical confrontation,&rdquo she stated.
She also vowed to introduce physique cameras and recruit a police force &ldquothat looks more like the community that it serves,&rdquo amongst other modifications.
&ldquoI am sorry for the hurt, pain and turmoil this incident has caused for all involved,&rdquo she stated.
Published at Sun, 08 Jul 2018 02:51:30 +0000