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.