A New Castle police officer is on administrative leave while the department looks into a video showing an arrest on Monday. At issue is how much force was used and whether it crossed the line.
The video was taken by a 15-year old who was watching Perry LaFwry’s arrest. He told police the 49-year-old had grabbed him by the throat and was choking him, which is why police were called to the E. Washington Street apartment.
That video has since made its rounds on social media.
Police said the man tried to run toward knives that were lying on a kitchen counter, so an officer began to struggle with him. The New Castle police chief said this officer is not under investigation.
Then Patrolman Ronald Williams showed up. He tased Lawry three times in an attempt to gain control, but it had no effect, according to police.
He felt Lawry was resisting officers and not complying with their orders, saying Lawry was still trying to crawl toward the knives.
Williams’ report says he grabbed Lawry by the back of his shoulders and gave him three thrusts, shoving his chest and head into the floor until he stopped resisting and could be handcuffed.
The story continued to the hospital, where Williams claimed Lawry got mad and tried to grab numerous cutting instruments from the doctor’s cart after he was done stitching a cut on Lawry’s forehead.
According to the report, Lawry had an unopened can of beer in his pocket and pulled it out, trying to drink it.
The hospital told police that Lawry had a blood alcohol level of approximately .326 — four times the legal limit.
After being released from the hospital, he was taken to Lawrence County Jail, where he is being held on a $5,000 bond. He is charged with simple assault, harassment and resisting arrest.
Late Wednesday afternoon, we were told that we couldn’t have Lawry’s mug shot even though he was charged with a crime because he might also be the victim of a crime.
Police have the phone that recorded the video. They also say the department was one of the first in Pennsylvania to convene a Use of Force Board Hearing for any allegation of excessive force.