A picture of a 14-year-old’s bruised face taken after a recent shoplifting arrest is raising questions as to whether officers brutally assaulted him or if he sustained the injuries from a bad fall while escaping from them, Philly.com reports.

Authorities arrested Joseph Williams (pictured) for shoplifting at a Walmart in Bucks County, Pa., last Tuesday. He managed to escape from custody while still in handcuffs. During the arrest, one of the officers shot him with a stun gun; one of the barbs struck the boy in the face.

Williams’ mother posted the picture of her son on Facebook Friday, believing he was a victim of police brutality. ”The picture speaks 1,000 words. They brutally beat him,” Marissa Sergeant said. She refuted claims the bruises were caused by Williams falling face first.

The photo has been shared more 53,000 times.

“If he did fall on his face, why does he have scrapes and bruises all over his whole face, everywhere. Why is his nose broken? Why is his nostril lifted off his face? Why is both of his eyes black and swollen?”

“I’m left with a child who’s going to be physically damaged for the rest of his life,” she added. The boy says he is so embarrassed by his injured face that he covers it up when he goes outside. “Everywhere I go, everyone is staring at me,” Williams said.

Bucks County DA David Heckler said he believes the officers acted appropriately in this instance. ”He should have stopped when police told him to,” Heckler said.

He also explained how the face-first theory is plausible.

“You take off running at a full clip and someone pulls your legs out from under you, and you’re cuffed from behind, you’re going to break your fall with your face,” he said. “I could well believe that you’d have fairly substantial bruising, cuts and scrapes.”

Heclker shared that there are eyewitnesses and police dash cam footage his office may look through. When informed of Heckler’s explanation, Sergeant rebuked, ”That’s impossible. Did he get up and fall 15 more times?”

She claims she went to the Tullytown police station following her son’s arrest, but police barred her from seeing him. He was treated at a local hospital and had to sign off on his medical treatment and discharge before being sent to a juvenile-detention center.

“They didn’t want me to see him,” Sargeant said. “They wanted to hide him as long as they could.”

Tullytown police chief Dan Doyle released the following statement to the Bucks County Courier Times Saturday:

“The police department is aware of the misinformation that has been circulating on social media regarding an arrest made by Tullytown officers. A thorough review of the incident is underway.”

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9 thoughts on “Pictures Of Pa. Teen Taken After Shoplifting Arrest Raise Questions

  1. Sexy Leroy on said:

    Don’t shoplift and your face won’t look like this! No pity. It is time to stop condoning and coddling our kids- especially males. IT IS NOT OK to commit any crime.

  2. Serpentine on said:

    If he was actually beaten the those police officers, both, him and his mother would want those bruises to last a lifetime. (they make his brutality case, if there is one), but instead, his only embarrassment is about the way he looks to his friends, and how he can’t go outside.

    How can a 14 yr old go to school and tell his friends, not only did he get caught stealing from Wal-Mart, but the injuries he sustained were of his own doing, which came from him running away from the police while having his hands handcuffed behind his back. I don’t know too many people who have that type of balance to do that without toppling over. True, the stun gun may have done some damage to his face, but this surely looks like he fell face first, his nose broke the fall, breaking his nose, and that’s the reason his eyes are black and swollen, his forehead is even scratched up. The damage is mostly to the right side of his face. I’m sure if the police beat him, I don’t think they would have spared his mouth, they would have definitely punched him in it.

    I don’t see too much long lasting physical damage. Once the swelling goes down and the scratches heal, and his nose gets fixed, he’ll be as good as new, physically. He’s a teenager, a dumb one, but teenager just the same, and they do dumb things. Maybe the mom should stop worrying about sensationalizing this and have someone talk to her son about stealing. If not, don’t cry foul later, when something bad happens to him because he tried to rob a bank.

  3. I AM NOT CONDONING THE YOUNG MAN ACTIONS. NO, HE SHOULD NOT HAD BEEN SHOP LIFTING etc. The courts should decide his fate not vigilante police officers. Hopefully he will learn from this experience.

  4. As a mothet of a 20yr old black male, I concur with both posts. My son got in trouble with the law 2yrs ago and I let him serve his 30 days in jail, which in our state is about 3 weeks prison time instead of paying his fine to get him out. It was very, brutal 3 weeks for us both. Those 3 weeks, in adult lock up was enough to set him straight!

  5. My then 16 y/o nephew did the same thing years ago; and had the nerve to punch the officer! Needless to say, he looked worse than this young man. Fast forward to 2013 and guess who is now a police officer…and a damned good one!!!! I hope this young man has parents who don’t make excuses for his behavior and let him know that this is one of the consequences for bad behavior!

  6. So you wanted to be an adult, so you went out stealing
    Then you got caught and thought you were grown so you squared up against the popo, got yo azz beat
    Now your embarrassed to show your NEW face….maybe it’s time for a career change, stay in school
    Get educated, get off this road that’s taking you to the city morgue

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