Editors Note- The following video may be hard to watch for some readers.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Newly released video from lawyers is showing some background on an excessive force complaint from a man who was arrested for driving under the influence in Charleston County.
Lawyers for Williams Seels-Weaver say that their client should have never been tased by Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Deputies while he was in North Charleston Police custody.
“It is a violation of the law. It’s a violation of any policy that should be in place,” said Attorney Edward L. Phipps.
As well as saying that Seels-Weaver was tased illegally, Phipps and attorney Ravi Sanyal say that their client went through a mental health crisis while in custody and was not offered any mental health assistance.
“No offer of mental health, no de-escalation. Escalation, a mental health crisis and once again the jump to the most extreme force that they have, a taser,” said Sanyal.
Seels-Weaver’s lawyers say that he asked for help 60 times and threatened to kill himself multiple times.
The North Charleston Police Department declined to comment to WCBD News about the incident.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) gave this statement to WCBD News.
Around 6 p.m. May 28, 2021, William Seels-Weaver was brought to SLED’s Data Master Room at the Detention Center by the North Charleston Police Department prior to booking. This is where law enforcement officers collect breath samples in DUI investigations. Detention deputies, including members of the Emergency Response Team, were called to the room after Seels-Weaver struggled with three North Charleston police officers who tried to handcuff him.
Detention deputies directed Seels-Weaver to comply. He refused and acted aggressively. After the detention deputies tried for more than 14 minutes to negotiate a non-confrontational resolution, ERT Operator James Breaux deployed his Taser. Seels-Weaver fell to the floor, but he continued to struggle as detention deputies tried to restrain him. After a second charge from Breaux’s Taser, he was handcuffed. Medical staff responded to evaluate Seels-Weaver, who was taken to a hospital for treatment. He was later returned to the facility for booking.
An internal investigation deemed that the use of force was reasonable and necessary based on Seels-Weaver’s behavior. It was appropriate to ensure the safety of those involved, including Seels-Weaver.
Breaux resigned from the Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 14 to seek employment elsewhere. He had been employed as a detention deputy since November 2007.Sheriff Kristin Graziano
Seels-Weaver’s lawyers want to bring attention to the incident because they say that their client has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and headaches from the concussion he suffered when he fell after being tased.
“We hope it sparks awareness and change for sure. We want answers,” said Phipps.
You can view the full incident report and from CCSO below.
Raw video of the incident is below. It contains strong language. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.