Just over a week after an East Pittsburgh police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in the back, a cop in another Pennsylvania city used a Taser on the back of a black man who was complying with his orders.
In a now-viral video, a neighbor recorded a Lancaster police officer using a stun gun on a 27-year-old man named Sean Williams. According to Lancaster's FOX43, Williams had been accused of using a baseball bat to assault someone — but people interviewed at the scene said they never saw the bat, and police did not recover one.
The video depicts the young man sitting on the cub of a sidewalk while complying with orders from the still-unnamed police officer arresting him. Williams had his arms out as the officer told him to put his legs "straight out" or he would be stun gunned, and after his knees remained bent, a female officer was heard yelling the same order. A moment later, the officer used the Taser on the 27-year-old.
As Williams writhed on the sidewalk, the person recording the video noted that he was "sitting down" and appeared to be complying with orders.
Please call the Lancaster Police Department in Pennsylvania & ask them if this is how they treat unarmed & non-viol… https://t.co/eA1PyrTQ1g— Simar (@Simar) 1530228998.0
When reached by FOX43 for comment about the officer's use of the stun gun, the Lancaster Police Department defended the officer's Taser use as a preventative measure.
"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," Lancaster PD said in a statement. "Non-compliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight with officers."
After being taken into police custody, Williams was arraigned on an outstanding warrant for public drunkenness and possession and released on a $5,000 bail, the local station's report noted.