A disturbing video of a Black man’s arrest inside a Pennsylvania Walmart has caused many to accuse Wyomissing police officers of racial bias and excessive force. Stanley Gaston Gracius was tased and arrested inside the store on Monday evening (July 20) while purchasing a bicycle for his son.
According to the Berks County District Attorney’s office, police responded to a call about the 37-year-old man riding a bike in the store, playing loud music and yelling profanities at other shoppers. The store manager told police she asked Gracius to leave, but he allegedly responded, “You’re not going to tell me what to do.”
When police arrived at the Walmart, Gracius was in the process of purchasing the bike. Police say Gracius was uncooperative and tried to reach for an officer’s taser. The video then shows the officers tasing the man, handcuffing him and slamming him to the ground. According to Heavy, cops also tied Gracius’ legs with a belt after he refused to get into the police car.
Throughout the alarming video of his arrest, Gracius can be heard asking officers, “Why are you doing this to me?” and insisting, “I paid for my stuff!”
“I have a receipt! Please stop!” he tells officers. “I didn’t do anything wrong!”
When Gracius asks cops why he’s being arrested, one bystander can be heard yelling, “Because you’re Black,” while others in the store accuse the cops of racism.
In a statement, the district attorney’s office defended the officers’ actions, saying they “showed restraint, acted professionally and did a good job deescalating the situation.”
“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,” the statement reads.
After the arrest, Gracius was booked into the Berks County Prison and is being held on a $2,500 bail. He faces multiple charges, including two counts of aggravated assault, disarming a law enforcement officer, two counts of simple assault, resisting arrest, defiant trespass and disorderly conduct/engage in fighting. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 6.
Reading Eagle reports that Gracius’ supporters have organized a protest in response to his arrest for Wednesday afternoon (July 22). Many have claimed the officers involved used excessive force and showed racial bias. Protesters are also demanding that Walmart release store surveillance footage from before and during the incident, as some witnesses have said the store manager’s allegations against Gracius are false.
See one disturbing clip from the arrest below.