Sean Williams has filed a lawsuit against a police officer and Lancaster City Police Department, accusing the officer of using excessive force when shooting him with a Taser.
The incident occurred last Thursday at about 10:15 a.m. when a person reported that a man with a bat was chasing after three other people on S. Prince St. A police officer arrived to the scene and said she saw three people telling a man, identified as Williams, to get away from them. Williams continued to tell a woman that he wanted her to give him his Social Security card.
A second officer, identified as Bernot, arrived to the scene shortly after. Juan Almestica, a witness, started video recording the encounter.
The video shows Bernot telling Williams to sit down on a curb. When he sits down, Bernot tells him several times to straighten his legs. Williams’ knees remained bent. Bernot then tell him that if he doesn’t straighten out his legs, he will get tased.
“This is done as a measure of control to insure that if someone is going to flee or offer physical resistance, they will have to move their legs under them to do so,” a Lancaster Police spokesperson wrote. “Non-compliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight with Officers.”
Williams put his legs out and then moved them back toward the curb. Bernott proceeded to shoot him with a stun gun. Williams fell to the ground in pain. The police officers ordered Williams to lie on his stomach with his arms out. They then put handcuffs on him and took him into custody.
According to the police, several people said that Williams had been acting erratically in the days before his arrest. They said Williams wanted to fight with them and even tried to prevent a woman from going into her apartment. However, they said they didn’t see him holding a bat.
Williams had an outstanding warrant for possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication prior to his arrest on Thursday.
Williams was reportedly held in police custody while he suffered severe pain. Nobody offered him water or medical attention, according to the lawsuit. He was eventually released on an unsecured $5,000 bail.
William said he followed the instructions from the police and didn’t know why he was tasered.