Police brutality and the treatment of black people in America by the forces has always been a prevalent and contentious issues in social discourse for what seems like forever, although it was recently amplified by the murder of African-American George Floyd some months ago.
Since then, a number of people on social media have been sharing other shocking incidents to raise awareness about how some police officers handle certain situations, particularly when it pertains to black people.
The latest comes from Pennsylvania, after a black man was arrested in a Walmart— even though he had paid for a bicycle for his son and had a receipt.
Stanley Gracius was confronted by two Wyomissing officers after receiving reports he was ‘riding a bicycle through the store, playing loud music and yelling profanities at other shoppers’.
“I didn’t do nothing wrong. Why are you arresting me?” Gracius is heard saying in various videos circulating online. “I paid. Everybody saw that, right? I had a receipt. So why are the cops doing this to me? What did I do wrong? Somebody, please tell me what I did wrong.”
Reports say that the Walmart store manager called police after Gracius was allegedly seen riding the bicycle in the store, playing loud music and shouting profanities.
However, according to one eye witness, he was ‘test riding a bike through the store while playing some music and telling random strangers he hopes they have a great day and complimenting them… he was absolutely no bother to anyone’.
They added that ‘there was no use for the tazing as he was calmly trying to reason with the officers’ and ‘after a few minutes he was taken outside and was forced into a cop car where he started to resist because he still had no idea what was going on’,
According to the Reading Eagle, though, police said Gracius scuffled with police outside the store and tried to wrestle a Taser away from one of the officers. He was arrested on charges including aggravated assault, resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct.
Despite the public outcry over the incident, local prosecutors said the officers acted appropriately.
“This office has conducted an independent review of the incident which took place yesterday at Walmart in Wyomissing,” the Berks County District Attorney’s Office said on Twitter Tuesday. “We have determined that @wyopd acted appropriately while arresting Stanley Gaston Gracius.”
Another statement added:
Mr. Gracius did not in any manner abide by the requests of not only the store manager of Walmart, but also the requests of the officers themselves. Based on our review of this incident, the officers of the Wyomissing Police Department acted appropriately when they arrested this individual who was causing a disturbance in the Walmart store.
However, despite the statement, public outcry has seen the creation of a GoFundMe page to help with Gracius’ legal fees, which has already raised more than $2,000.
Furthermore, some members of the community are planning a protest at the police department.
“He was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” one Twitter user said online. “You can even hear witnesses say they saw him pay for the bike. If that is the case, imagine the indignity you would feel in this situation. Stanley will get paid.”
The case is still ongoing.