On June 28, a Pennsylvania police officer used a taser on a black man who was not doing any harm. He had been approached and asked to sit on the curb and straighten his legs. When the man bent his legs in the slightest, he was instantly tased with no precautions at all. The video of this incident went viral and many supporters of Mr. Williams, the man tased, rallied up the very next day.
Recently, it was revealed that this police officer will not be fired or suspended despite his impulsive use of a taser on a man who complied to what was being said. The officer claimed that he had told Mr. Williams “several times” to sit down and was called to the scene because of a 911 call regarding a man with a bat. Mr. Williams didn’t have a bat in his possession, but a group had described him as having “erratic behavior” and “wanted to fight.”
The mayor of Lancaster, Pa, Danene Sorace, stated that some citizens would find the settlement “extremely upsetting.”
She seemed to show understanding of the failure and unfair treatment in this incident by responding with, “Who is accountable? I am. I am accountable, as mayor, for existing policies, procedures, training, hiring practices and more. It’s on me.”
Although it is extremely notable that she publicly spoke about the issue and knew that this exuded prejudice, more action should be taken towards these wrongdoings. This officer should not be allowed to continue working, especially after taking harsh measurements.
Unfortunately, findings presented revealed that the officer followed policies regarding the use of force and taser, which is used when a suspect does not reply well to commands.
On the other hand, Mr. Williams is shown in the video not giving any trouble and consistently listening to the police officer. Regardless, the police officer approached him without really letting Mr. Williams process or know what was going on.
Mr. William’s lawyer stated that it would be “outrageous” that the officer wouldn’t be “removed from the streets.” He also added on that his commands weren’t consistent.
Brian R. Mildenberg, the lawyer, said, “On behalf of my client, I reiterate our respectful demand that this police officer be suspended pending this investigation. [Mr. Williams] was completely peaceful and compliant and there was absolutely no reason to use violence upon his person.”
Mildenberg presented a strong point and it should be recognized that a severe action was taken on the officer’s part. It was unnecessary and should only be used in serious cases, which this was not.
Better training for police officers should be given and questionable actions taken such as this one should not be so easily forgiven.
Photo: Matt Popovich