Pennsylvania Officer Tases Suspect in the Back Because He Didn't Cross His Ankles Quickly Enough

"Oh come on, bruh. You're really going to tase him? He was sitting down. That's crazy. That's why I record everything."


A Pennsylvania police officer tased a sitting suspect in the back, and video of the incident is going viral.

A Facebook video shows a man since identified as Sean Williams, 27, on a sidewalk as a Lancaster police officer, identified as Philip Bernot, gives him instructions to sit on the curb.

Bernot can be seen pointing his Electronic Control Device (ECD) towards Williams while he speaks. Bernot tells Williams to put his legs "straight out," which he does. Bernot then tells Williams to cross his ankles. As Williams begins to pull his legs back, Bernot, who is standing behind the seated man, shoots his ECD into Williams' back.

"Oh come on, bruh. You're really going to tase him? He was sitting down," shouts the bystander who captured the incident on camera. "That's crazy. That's why I record everything."

Lancaster Mayor Danene responded to the incident after the video circulated. Sorace said in her own Facebook video that she was "upset" by the initial video. She went on to say that the use of force was taken "very seriously" and announced an investigation was underway. Sorace also mentioned communication with civil rights groups and confirmed her support for a body camera initiative.

A report from the Lancaster police offers one explanation for the events leading up to the tasing. An Officer Mazzante responded to an initial call in the area about a disturbance. The caller accused Williams of going after them on the street. Mazzante came across a group fitting the caller's description and told Williams to sit down after he repeatedly told one of the females in the group that he wanted his Social Security card.

Mazzante repeated her instructions "several times" before Bernot took over. The subsequent events were captured on video and posted online.

Emergency medical services followed protocol by performing a check on Williams. Officers took him into custody after finding an outstanding warrant, which charges were listed as "Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCP) and Public Drunkeness." He was later released on a $5,000 bail.