VIDEO: Man Tased In Viral Video Sues Police Because He's Embarrassed

A Pennsylvania man is looking for a payout after he repeatedly refused to follow officers' commands.

Lancaster, PA – A Lancaster man, who was tased by police after he allegedly attempted to fight with several individuals, has filed a lawsuit against the Lancaster Police Department and the officer involved in his arrest (video below).

In the lawsuit, 27-year-old Sean D. Williams alleged that he has been suffering from “crippling anxiety” since he was “racially profiled” by Lancaster Police Officer Philip Bernot.

Williams further asserted that Officer Bernot used “excessive force” when he deployed his “Taser gun without any justification” during the “shockingly violent” encounter, according to the lawsuit.

The incident occurred at 10:16 a.m. on June 28, after police received a 911 call reporting that “a male with a bat” was chasing several individuals in the area of South Prince Street and West Mifflin Street, the Lancaster Police Department said in a statement.

Lancaster Police Officer Shannon Mazzante responded to the scene of the disturbance and observed three individuals telling Williams to “get away from them,” police said.

Officer Mazzante repeatedly instructed Williams to sit down, but he refused and kept telling one of the females in the group that he wanted her to give him his Social Security card.

The officer issued commands for Williams to sit down for approximately two more minutes, at which point Officer Bernot arrived to assist.

In a cell phone video recorded by bystander Juan Almestica, Williams was seen standing on the edge of a curb as Officer Bernot spoke to him with his Taser drawn.

It was unclear how long Officer Bernot had been at the scene prior to the start of the recording.

“Sit down or you’re getting tased,” he told Williams in the video.

After Williams slowly lowered himself down onto the curb, Officer Bernot repeatedly instructed him to put his “legs straight out.”

Williams inched his feet forward ever so slightly, but kept his legs bent.

“Straight out,” Officer Bernot said again, just as Williams quickly slid his right foot back towards the curb and underneath himself.

“Hey!” Officer Bernot said while he moved to a position behind Williams. “Legs straight out, or you’re getting tased.”

Williams slid his feet forward once again but ignored the officer’s commands to straighten them.

“This [tactic] is done as a measure of control to [ensure] that if someone is going to flee or offer physical resistance, they will have to move their legs under them to do so,” the police department’s statement read. “Non-compliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight with Officers.”

“Put your legs straight out, and cross them now,” Officer Mazzante directed Williams in the video.

Williams again slid his heels quickly back underneath him, at which point Officer Bernot deployed his Taser, hitting Williams in the back.

The defiant man flailed on the ground for a moment before he tried to sit back up.

“On your stomach, on your stomach,” Officer Bernot ordered. “Arms out like an airplane.”

Williams repeatedly attempted to crane his neck to see the officers standing behind him, but remained on the ground and was arrested without further incident.

The individuals Williams had allegedly been trying to fight with told police that Williams had displayed “increasing erratic behavior” during the days prior to the disturbance, according to the police department’s statement.

They said that Williams had wanted to fight with them earlier in the day but that he ended up backing down because he was wearing flip flops.

He later returned wearing sneakers and wanted to fight the group yet again, they told police.

At that point, someone uninvolved in the incident called 911. The individuals involved in the altercation said they never saw Williams with a bat, and investigators did not locate a bat at the scene.

Williams was arrested on outstanding warrants for possession of a controlled substance and public drunkenness, police said.

In the lawsuit, Williams sued Officer Bernot “individually and in his official capacity,” according to court documents.

Williams claimed he was “confused and surprised” by the officers’ commands that he sit down because he “had not done anything wrong,” the lawsuit said.

He said that he ultimately “complied without resistance” because he didn’t want to “cause any trouble,” the lawsuit read.

Williams said he was in “extreme pain” during and after his arrest, and that he was “not offered” medical attention “or even a drink of water,” according to the suit.

Since the incident, Williams has continued to “suffer severe head, neck, shoulder and head pain” due to having been tased by Officer Bernot, and was also experiencing “substantial shame, embarrassment, [and] mental” suffering, the document continued.

According to police, Williams was assessed and cleared by emergency medical personnel at the station "as is protocol with every use of an [electronic control device]."

Williams is seeking a judgement “in excess” of $75,000.

You can watch the viral recording of Williams' arrest in the video below.

Comments (48)
No. 1-48
Budman
Budman

A thug looking for a big payday for being stupid!!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

looks like those cops were giving terrible commands. Why would you repeat the same command when someone cleary isn't understanding what you're saying?

The cop kept saying put his legs straight out, and they were. He was sitting in a V, and his legs were pointing straight out.

The cop could have said "straighten your legs" or "unbend your knees", which are unmistakable commands. "Legs straight out" could mean exactly how he was sitting. His legs were pointed straight out.

The other cop was also giving commands at the same time. She told him to cross his feet, and he did. That's why his feet went back under his body. He crossed his feet while his knees were bent.

Unnecessary force, and hopefully compensation comes out of this.

LEO0301
LEO0301

I would expect nothing less from some people. In todays world you have a pretty good chance of winning the ghetto lotto if you file a law suit against a police department for absolutely no reason. Cities run scared, especially when dealing with minorities. Sad days we live in, that's for sure.

Officer Cynical
Officer Cynical

... “shockingly violent” encounter. Awesome.

Jimmyd2
Jimmyd2

Hi_estComnDenomn "Legs straight out" does not mean "slightly bent". Did you read the entire article? The next command was going to be for him to cross his legs so that he could not get up easily and come at the officers or flee. There is a reason for each command. Drunk and under the influence at 10 o'clock in the morning? This is more likely the reason he failed to understand what he was being told what to do.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@merlin9 that's a lie, because i'm not racist. never have i said my race, or any other race, is better than another.

don't just throw accusations out.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Jimmyd2 Yes I read the article, did you watch the video? the cops are giving him directions at the same time.

and his legs were "straight out." his knees were facing 90 degrees from each other. The problem with "straight out" is that it is an ambiguous term. Did the cop say "unbend your knees" "straighten your legs" or anything of that nature to clarify?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

If good police had the balls to call out bad police, I bet less payouts to victims would ensue.

merlin9
merlin9

You dislike LE, and show it, in almost every post. "armchair quarterbacking" seems to be your forte. Ever worked the streets, or even done a ride-along? You, and a lot of others sit in the comfort of your homes....safe in the knowledge that others, are out there EVERY day, putting their lives on the line for you. I should also ask, have you ever been in the military? I'd dare to guess not. You have talked about the white man, in several posts.

Budman
Budman

@Hi_estComnDenom Just a big hemorrhoid to law emforcement just leave and do all us the favor please!!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@merlin9 That's simply untrue. I repeatedly say police are a necessity to society. But bad cops make ALL cops look bad. And for some reason, good cops aren't willing to call bad cops out. I don't get what they're afraid of, since I'm told 99% of cops are good people.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@merlin9 why yes, I was in the Navy for 11 years. so while I was serving, YOU'RE welcome that you were able to sit in the comfort of your home, safe in the knowledge that others were out in the world EVERY day, putting lives on the line for you.

I'll tell you what. Complete a deployment and I'll go on a ride-along.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@merlin9 And lastly, don't say shit to me about race until you run back through every article calling out racist comments.

Stop being butthurt because i mention white people. I promise some of you Boomers are the biggest cry babies. Your parents knew it and generations below you know it.

Powderman
Powderman

Hey...Hi_est ComnDenomn: I've completed 3 deployments. Where's your ride-along?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Powderman good on you. however, you as a servicemember should know how annoying it is when people question your duty to country. You wouldn't do that, would you?

and if you would do that, my response to you would be "3 deployments? That's cute."

Mrs10
Mrs10

@Hi_estComnDenomn A few thoughts:

  1. The straight legs argument - you're both right and wrong -
  • legs can't be straight out if knees are bent. "legs straight out" means the femur + knee + tibia/fibula all in alignment from hip. BUT when you say the commands could've been clearer that's actually a good idea. "Unbend your knees" might be a better way to say it next time (and your idea to make commands in general clearer definitely has merit) but he still was in the right with the Taser bc the man did not straighten his legs.
  1. The comments about bad cops -
  • I've said repeatedly that good cops hate bad cops more than anyone else possibly could bc they make the hard jobs good cops do even harder. They (bad cops) are a disgrace to their badges and oaths. I think part of the problem here is in nomenclature. "Bad cop" "wrong cop" are synonymous NOUNS that refer to a PERSON who has betrayed the badge." Bad policing" is a VERB and refers either to an individual's actions or a collective departmental POLICY So when you call out cops here I think people assume you're referring to the former terms (the noun/person) when I'm guessing it's usually the latter (the verb/action/policy).

Although if you're calling out the former please make sure it's substantiated. Good cops hate bad cops but will rally around their own until it's proven. Then the good will crucify the bad with ferocity. A lot of times - especially after an officer involved shooting where the facts are few and speculation is rampant - you'll make judgements about cops while it's early days in the investigation. That's a sure-fire way to make enemies here. But again know that if the claims end up true this will not be a place of refuge for a disgraced badge.

JM-Retired
JM-Retired

Lets forget about the officers for a moment. Lets talk about people of all races. How defiant they have become towards authority. Whether it be to the police or in schools. More officers are being killed then ever in our lifetime..That in itself puts you on full alert....As far as I'm concerned this guy is lucky that these officers only tased him. In my day on and off the job if an officer told you to do something you did it or you would be tasting a hickory stick or a black jack.. Consider this a life lesson son.. listen to the police.... For all you haters out there officers are trained for there own safety to make you follow such commands. Nobody had any ideal what this guy had in his pockets. You want to put him in a uncomfortable position so he don't get the jump on you. Thats why he insisted on him putting his legs out straight and then he would have had him cross them..Also remember officers don't go looking for this stuff. remember the original call came from 911. Officers are regular folks who have a tremendous responsibility (Public Safety)who rather have an uneventful shift and everyone go home safe.. Great Job Officers...

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

@LEO0301 @merlin9 @Powderman @Budman @Jimmyd2

I feel even guiltier, addressing you as my best friend when all I have ever done since I first knew you were to crush and deform your heart in more ways than I will ever come close to putting back and later on mend. With only but regret, I wish to humbly ask for your forgiveness. Truly sorry.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

This is a good teaching moment for older people who are constantly tricked by the internet.

Notice my name has one N at the end?

Also notice the way i tag people, and the way the comment above me tags people?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@JM-Retired "More officers are being killed then (sic) ever in our lifetime."

Stop lying! You know people believe everything they hear on this site. Police death has regularly dropped for years.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Mrs10 I disagree with your first point. Every time the officer said "straight out", the guy was spreading his knees out, making his legs point as far "straight out" from center as he could. Then other officer says cross cross his feet and he does so. He was following their directions, he just wasn't given good directions.

To your second point, i feel you're mincing words. I call a bad cop a bad cop whether they are incompetent or outright dangerous. They all give good cops a bad name. In my former profession, we constantly trim the fat from the herd.

Bad person? We will try to discharge you as quickly as possible. Good person but incompetent? We won't throw you out on your ass, but you will be relegated to a position where you can do the least damage and when it comes time for evaluations, that's when you're gotten. Too fat? Discharge.

Scandal in the military? There's no hiding, WE put ourselves in blast all the time. Now, why is it so hard for "good cops" to do the same? Why don't people on the force call out bad cops publicly on the force, instead of shuffling them around like Catholic priests?

LEO0301
LEO0301

Since someone is spreading misinformation about police officers killed in the line of duty I provided the following factual information - "Since the start of 2018, at least 46 law enforcement officers across the U.S. have died while on duty -- with 28 of the deaths caused by gunfire. Roughly 135 cops died in 2016, making it the deadliest year for police officers in at least five years, Fox News has found. While there were fewer deaths in 2017, the numbers weren’t much better: A total of 129 officers died last year. And 46 of those were caused by gunfire." Of course this doesn't say anything about officers who were shot and survived the attack.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301 Right off the bat, i can tell where you're going with this. 135 deaths, but only 46 due to gunfire. So what are the rest of the deaths that make up the bulk of this "deadly year?" Heart attacks? Off duty vehicle accidents? You see those on this site all the time.

Also, Pew Research Center and US News and World report, two research firms that are middle of the road, show that cop death due to violence has been on a steady decrease for years now.

Your source is fox news? They wouldn't have an agenda or anything they're trying to push, right? What are their sources?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

If you don't want to read the whole thing, 2017 was a near-record low from the past 50 years.

Would you care to link your sources?

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

This is a good teaching moment for younger people who are constantly tricked by real life.

Notice my name has 2 N's at the end?

Also notice the way I capitalize proper nouns like "I"?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301 In the Summary of the 3rd article: "Officer deaths dropped to its lowest level in four years."

Did you mean to include this one?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301 First article: this stat doesn't deal with our discussion but I'll keep it on hand when someone says "violent crimes are increasing":

"According to the preliminary FBI's Uniform Crime Report from January to June 2016-2017, an estimated 442,824 Violent Crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 0.8%."

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

@LEO0301 No wait, I forgot to carry the 1, never mind you were correct. Many apologies good sir.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301 Also First article: "The 1920s were the deadliest decade in law enforcement history, when a total of 2,480 officers died, or an average of almost 248 each year. The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930, when 310 officers were killed. That figure dropped dramatically in the 1990s, to an average of 162 per year.

Are you trying to help my argument on purpose? I don't understand.

merlin9
merlin9

11 years....that's cute. 20+ years USN. I've got more time on the focsle at left standard rudder than you've had in the USN. "injun country" twice. Been places and seen/done things that would probably make you throw up. Thanks for playing, tho.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@merlin9 A deck seaman questioning someone else's duty? You're punching way up, aren't you bootskip?

If you're on the focsle, look back at the pilothouse. Do you see the OOD waving at you to turn your ass back around and watch the water?

I trained him.

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

I meant a Deck Semen. My bad. Swallow so much of both I lose track. We drank Drunken Sailors together in port. I'd do that ride along but I don't think a single cop in America likes me at this point.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Budman First off, i am socially liberal, but I'm not a leftist.

Second of all, when will you ever get tired of mentioning Clinton? She lost. Get over it. Is she your personal boogeyman or something?

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

Well, Hillary did have better hair than Donald. She just couldn't stand without holding onto the podium. Probably too many White Russians.

Budman
Budman

Social liberal douche bag!! Once a liberal always a liberal!!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Budman You're certainly representing your demographic well, aren't you? Short, choppy sentences, no clear direction in your comments, prone to bouts of yelling and screaming at things you don't like....

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

Well, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and sexually frustrated to be honest. I won't powder coat the closet anymore. I'm out of it.

ByAnyMeansNecessary
ByAnyMeansNecessary

@Hi_estComnDenomnn Sexually frustrated? The wife just had our son, I'm totally down to wait for her to recover. You, however, spend time on here like someone who has no one else to spend time with.

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Hi_estComnDenomnn - haha it looks like you got the village idiot to change his name. Well done!

ByAnyMeansNecessary
ByAnyMeansNecessary

@LEO0301 he did. but this name more closely reflects how I handle daily interactions with people like you, so I guess we both win.

merlin9
merlin9

"deck seaman"?? I was using the term loosely to describe what 11 years of service must have done for you. I was a Master Helmsman, a Pilot Rescue Swimmer, an LSE, (Landing Signalman Enlisted) and was in charge of both all underway watch sections, as well as the ONLY Boatswains Mate, that the CO would allow on the bridge at General Quarters. I was also acting 1st Lieutenant, and OIC of the physical security of an entire Air squadron. In addition to being division officer of a discipline barracks, and duties as the Command Investigator, at a Naval base. Tell me of your 11 year duties, sir.

ByAnyMeansNecessary
ByAnyMeansNecessary

@merlin9 1110/1810 desigs, Surface Warfare/Information Warfare Officer. Served on 2 frigates and a destroyer, 2 years in 7th fleet (Japan). I calculated almost 40% of my first couple tours were out at sea.

By the time I'd gone to my shore tour i was so sick of deploying that i decided to transfer to information warfare (IDWO), it would keep me on land and actually give me skills i could use outside of the military.

At sea i was 1st LT (so I'm very familiar with deck seamen-- hard working motherfuckers), then DCA on my second ship (firemen... Some more hard working motherfuckers).

Made LCDR at 32 and decided to hang it up to start my own business. That didn't go over too well with some seniors that i decided to leave after "having a rocket strapped to my back," but whatever. I had a calling and i did what i had to do in the Navy.

I'll always support my brothers and sisters though. And no matter how nasty comments may get between us on here, I'll say thank you right now for serving before me.

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

ByAnyMeensNecessary
ByAnyMeensNecessary

NECESSARY?? Is it... NECESSARY for me to drink my own urine?