Did Wyomissing police officers act appropriately while arresting a man who was yelling profanities at shoppers as he rode a bicycle through a Walmart store in the borough? Berks County District Attorney John Adams said the Wyomissing Police Department contacted his office on Tuesday and asked that it conduct an independent review of the arrest, which was widely shared on social media. Officers were dispatched Monday to the Walmart at 1135 Berkshire Boulevard for reports of the man weaving back and forth through the store’s aisles on the bicycle, playing loud music, and yelling profanities at other shoppers, according to the district attorney, who said that the suspect was told multiple times by the store manager to leave, but he refused. By the time the officers arrived, the man was paying for the bicycle, Adams said. He was then detained by the responding officers.

“During the encounter, the Wyomissing Police showed restraint, acted professionally, and did a good job deescalating the situation with the defendant, Stanley Gracius,” the district attorney’s office said in its statement. Gracius, 37, of Wyomissing, was charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault, as well as disarming a  law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, defiant trespass, and disorderly conduct.

Allowed use of force.

Police officers are allowed the “use of force” including hands, batons, tasers, or other weapons when necessary.  That use of force is among many of the misinterpreted powers placed upon police who must be held accountable if they overstep actions of a “reasonable person” during the tense and volatile encounters they perform as part of their policing duties.  The claim held against the officers in the viral video of this encounter are that of inappropriately arresting a black man with the use of physical force.

Excessive force, or bias-based profiling?

Excessive force is the term used to describe continued force, even after a criminal has been subdued and a situation has been controlled to eliminate danger to others and oneself.  It has often been justified in high intensity situations where the potential for serious bodily harm, mass bodily harm, and death were present, leaving some unethical police officers to carry this over to encounters where no, or low force is necessary.  The act of tying a man’s legs together with a belt may seem a questionable act of physical force, but was it excessive, and was Mr. Gracius arrested because of a bias held by the arresting officers.  In many similar encounters across the nation, these two forms of police brutality have led to untimely and unnecessary injury and death.

Hire a lawyer.

If you, or someone you love has been victimized by any form of police brutality, speak to a legal professional who understands civil rights actions and the negative action of police brutality.

 

Sources:

https://www.wfmz.com/news/area/berks/da-officers-acted-appropriately-in-arrest-at-walmart/article_ed462d8e-cb85-11ea-83bd-db3220f33763.html

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/preliminary-report

https://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am4.html

https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment14.html