April 10, 2015

Second officer in Walter Scott video is being sued for allegedly stomping on another handcuffed mans' face

Clarence Habersham, who was with Michael Slager during shooting, is being sued by another black resident who alleges police stomped on his face
Sheldon Williams
 Booking picture of Sheldon Williams following his arrest. He says he was not taken to a hospital for over two hours after the alleged attack. Photograph: Charleston County sheriff 

The second policeman in the video showing Walter Scott’s killing by officer Michael Slager is being sued by another black resident in South Carolina, who alleges police stomped on his face while he was handcuffed and lying on concrete.

Clarence Habersham is among five North Charleston police officers named in a federal lawsuit brought by Sheldon Williams, who claims he was left with broken bones in his face after being assaulted.
Williams, 47, alleges he suffered “severe pain for months after the attack” and that his face was left “so swollen that his left eye was barely visible”. He continues to endure “flashbacks and other post-traumatic stress symptoms”, he claims, and is seeking damages.

“In addition, [Williams] experiences a sensation of insects crawling on the left side of his face as a result of nerve damage,” the lawsuit alleges.

Habersham and attorneys representing the officers and police department did not respond to requests for comment. The department denied all Williams’s allegations in a past court filing and said he “told officers he had been in a fight earlier that week which left a facial abrasion”. 
 South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shoots Walter Scott in the back as he runs away. Officer Clarence Habersham can also be seen in the video. Link to video
Williams, who had a series of criminal convictions, was arrested at a Budget Inn hotel room in North Charleston on a warrant for armed robbery in November 2011. He pleaded guilty and is now about three and a half years into a 10-year prison sentence.

Habersham, 37, was the first officer to arrive at the scene after his colleague Michael Slager shot Walter Scott dead as Scott, 50, ran away from a confrontation in North Charleston last Saturday morning. Slager has been charged with murder. Habersham can be seen crouched over Scott’s body in cellphone video of the incident.

In the police incident report on the shooting, sergeant James Gann wrote that he “assisted officer Habersham with CPR and first aid”, and that they continued to administer CPR until an ambulance arrived. Sergeant Ron Webb wrote that he observed Habersham administering chest compressions to Scott.

Yet the released video footage does not show CPR being administered and the man who filmed it, Feidin Santana, has said he did not see this take place. Habersham’s own statement did not mention CPR or chest compressions, instead saying he applied pressure to the gunshot wounds.

Police chiefs suggested at a press conference on Wednesday that Habersham had used “lifesaving” techniques on Scott after pulling up his shirt. But a syncing of the video footage with police radio transmissions indicates Habersham was in fact locating the gunshot wounds.

Williams claims that despite not resisting arrest when he was found hiding under a bed in the November 2011 incident, the North Charleston police officers “pinned [him] to the concrete floor, trapping him within the bedframe, repeatedly stomping on his face and/or allowing other officers to stomp on his face while [he] was handcuffed.”

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