SPRING GROVE, Pa. (WHTM) – A police officer in York County is charged in connection with the shooting of a handcuffed man outside a bank in Spring Grove.
Officer Stuart Harrison, a 15-year veteran of Southwestern Regional Police Department, is charged with simple assault.
Harrison was placed on administrative leave with pay after the shooting. Following the announcement of charges, Harrison is now on administrative leave without pay.
Harrison told investigators he intended to use his Taser on Ryan Smith, but pulled out his gun by mistake.
The incident began when Harrison responded to a call for a man being belligerent and threatening at the Santander Bank on 39 W. Hanover St. in Spring Grove on May 30, 2018. Smith, 33, was reportedly trying to withdraw $500,000 from the bank, even though he didn’t have an account there or proper ID.
Harrison said he told Smith to leave the bank. Cellphone video then shows Harrison trying to push Smith out of the bank and then deploying his Taser twice. Both times, the probes did not make contact with Smith’s skin.
A second police officer arrived and was able to successfully use his Taser on Smith and the officers were able to handcuff Smith and lead him to a patrol car.
Harrison said Smith refused to get into the car and the officers were unable to bend his head down or buckle his knees to get him into the car. However, several witnesses said they saw Smith sitting in the car with the officers trying to get his legs inside the vehicle.
Harrison told investigators he intended to use his taser on Smith’s thigh to get him to buckle his knees. Smith said as soon as he heard the sound of the gunshot, he knew it wasn’t his Taser. He said it was not his intent to use his gun.
The investigation showed Harrison kept his gun on the right side of his duty belt. The Taser was on the left side.
Harrison said, after the shooting, Smith asked him, “Dude, why’d you shoot me?”
Harrison called for an ambulance and the second officer began administering first aid to Smith.
Smith’s mother arrived on the scene shortly before the shooting and said she told officers that Smith had a mental illness. She told investigators he was released from the hospital the day before and seemed delusional.
Smith was treated at the hospital for his injuries.
In court paperwork, investigators noted that Harrison is a certified firearms and Taser instructor for the Southwestern Regional Police Department.