Blind Man Tasered After Policeman Mistakes his Stick for a Samurai Sword
- 18 Oct
A policeman faces an investigation for tasering a blind man in the street after he mistook his white stick for a Samurai sword.
Former company director Colin Farmer, 61, was hit in the back by 50,000 volt stun device and then handcuffed whilst on his way to meet friends.
Police had earlier been dispatched after reports of a man roaming around Chorley town centre in Lancs armed with a sword.
A patrolman spotted stroke victim Mr Farmer walking down the street using his white stick to get around and wrongly assumed he was the swordsman.
Mr Farmer said he has made a formal complaint and is pursuing legal action against Lancashire Police which has apologised and begun an investigation.
I didn't even know the police were there. I heard this man shouting. I thought they were shouting at some people.
I certainly didn't know they were police - and I certainly didn't know they were shouting at me.
The next thing they fired a Taser at me; I just felt this thump in my back. As soon as the taser hit me I hit the ground.
I hit my head on the floor, then this policeman came around. I said 'I'm blind, I'm blind. I'm blind'.
This policeman knelt on me and dragged my arms round my back and handcuffed me so tight I've had bruises since.
I said 'you're hurting me, I'm blind' - and there's no way he could not have seen my stick on the floor.
I walk at a snail's pace. They could have walked past me, driven past me in the van, or said drop your weapon.
They wouldn't even stop when I said I'm blind.
After he was tasered Mr Farmer was taken to Chorley Hospital for treatment and was later released.
Mr Farmer has suffered two strokes - one in November 2008, and another in March this year, when he spent two month in hospital.
Chief Supt Stuart Williams, of Chorley Police said the matter had been referred to the IPCC, adding:
On Friday evening we received a number of reports that a man was walking through Chorley armed with a samurai sword.
A description of the offender was circulated to officers and patrols were sent to look for the man.
Despite asking the man to stop, he failed to do so and the officer discharged his taser.
It then became apparent that this man was not the person we were looking for and officers attended to him straight away.
He was taken to Chorley Hospital by police officers who stayed with him whilst he was checked over by medics. They then took him to meet his friends in Chorley at his request.
Lancashire Constabulary deeply regrets what has happened. We have clearly put this man through a traumatic experience and we are extremely sorry for that.
We have launched an urgent investigation to understand what lessons can be learned and the matter has also been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
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