Lancaster officer will not face disciplinary action following tasing incident
Posted July 7, 2018 4:03 p.m. EDT
LANCASTER, PA — On Friday, Mayor Danene Sorace addressed a spotlight hanging above the city,
A viral video last Thursday shows an incident involving a Lancaster police officer using a taser to subdue 27-year old Sean Williams.
Authorities say Williams wasn't complying with their orders while advocates say conflicting orders led to an unnecessary use of force.
Mayor Sorace says the officer involved will not be fired or suspended for the incident.
"The preliminary findings of the investigation are that his actions complied with the city's current use of force and taser policies, which authorizes use in various situations including a failure to respond to multiple verbal commands," said Sorace.
Following the incident, Sorace says changes are coming.
A revision of the use of force and taser policy will allow officers to only tase a suspect if faced with direct physical confrontation.
Also next year, every sworn officer will be equipped with a body camera.
The city is currently pursing grant money through the Department of Justice to pay for $500,000 in body cameras.
Sorace said a pilot program of the body cameras will start by the end of this year, with or without the grant money.
"In isolation, we know body cameras cannot address all concerns. But they can provide a measure of hope and transparency for our community and for the police, as well," said Sorace
Further steps Sorace says they plan to take will include a push to recruit a more diverse group of officers.
They will also look to appoint a panel made of community leaders to be a part of the development, review, and revision of the new policies.
Sorace asks anyone who may be interested in being considered for the panel to contact the city.
Lancaster NAACP leaders and activists with Lancaster Stands Up say they are disappointed the officer will not receive disciplinary action.
But Eliza Booth with Lancaster Stands Up is optimistic about the city's plan, saying she believes the steps are needed to hold people accountable.
"Not just your superior, the people that you work for here in the city...It is the citizens that you are here to protect and serve and that we are able to hold people accountable when there are cases of injustice," said Booth.
Sorace said the changes won't be a quick fix but can put Lancaster at the forefront of police-community relations reform.
"I feel such a deep and profound responsibility to this community to binding up the hurt, addressing the concerns, and implementing the changes I have outlined," said Sorace.
The Lancaster County District Attorney's Office is still conducting it's own independent review of the incident to determine if there was any criminal conduct.
Williams is also seeking $75,000 in personal damages through a federal excessive force lawsuit.