Police Taser blind man mistaking his white stick for a samurai sword

Erstver√∂ffentlicht: 
17.10.2012

The IPPC is investigating an incident in Chorley, where an innocent person was struck by a 50,000-volt stun gun

An innocent blind man with a white stick has been shot in the back by police with a 50,000-volt Taser after officers mistook it for a samurai sword.
Colin Farmer, 61, was hit following reports of a man walking through Chorley, Lancashire, early on Friday evening, with a sword. He said that he initially thought he was being attacked by hooligans when he was struck by the Taser.


The matter is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after Farmer, who has said he intends to take legal action, made a complaint to the force.
Farmer, who used to run an architects' practice and is a fellow of the Institute of Directors, was on his way to meet friends at 5.45pm and was walking along Peter Street near a restaurant. "I didn't even know the police were there," he said. "I heard this man shouting. I thought they were shouting at some people."
Farmer, who has suffered two strokes, the most recent requiring two months in hospital in March, was fearful he would suffer another stroke.
He said the whole thing was like being "trapped in a nightmare": "I thought I was going to be attacked by hooligans. The next thing they fired a Taser at me, although I didn't know it was a Taser at the time. I just felt a thump in my back. As soon as the Taser hit me, I hit the ground."
He repeatedly attempted to explain to the officer that he was blind, but he knelt on him and dragged his hands behind his back and handcuffed him. Farmer, who has bruises on his hand, said he was "absolutely terrified."
"I walk at a snail's pace, they could have walked past me, driven past me in a van or said: 'Drop your weapon.'"
The matter was referred to the IPCC by the Lancashire force.
Ch Supt Stuart Williams, of Lancashire police, said the force deeply regretted the incident.
Farmer was taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged. Williams said the officers stayed with him in hospital and took him to meet his friends in Chorley at his request.
Williams said police had "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," he said. "One of the officers who arrived in Chorley believed he had located the offender. Despite asking the man to stop, he failed to do so and the officer discharged his Taser."
Williams said it "became apparent that this man was not the person we were looking for and officers attended to him straight away", taking him to hospital.
He added that the force has launched an urgent investigation to understand what lessons could be learned.
"We have clearly put this man through a traumatic experience and we are extremely sorry for that," he said. They have remained in contact with the man and his family over the past few days to enquire about his recovery, he added.
A 27-year-old man carrying a samurai sword was later arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.