On June 28, 2018, Sean Williams was sitting on a curb in Lancaster, Pennsylvania while being yelled at by officer Philip Bernot. Williams was eventually tased while trying to follow the officers’ commands.
The white male officer stood behind Williams, repeatedly yelling “legs out!” and “straight out!” The female officer, Shannon Mazzante, was off-camera but just as demanding, “put your legs straight out and cross them now!” she shouted. Their demands quickly turned to threats,“legs straight out, or you’re getting tased,” Bernot yelled.
Moments later, Williams, whose legs were not fully extended, shifted his legs. That’s when Bernot squeezed the trigger, and sent taser prongs and a current of electricity through Williams’ body.
The incident sparked outrage and protests about what many claim is an abuse of power.
After the incident, Williams, filed a $75 million excessive force lawsuit against the Lancaster Police Department.
In the suit, Williams’ attorney alleges he was racially profiled by police and “has suffered and continues to suffer severe head, neck, shoulder and head pain” as well as “crippling anxiety” and “substantial shame, embarrassment, mental and physical suffering,” ABC reports.
According to the lawsuit, Williams was simply following instructions.
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