Police use Taser on blind man whose stick was mistaken for samurai sword Police in Lancashire have apologised to a blind stroke victim after he was hit by a Taser when his white stick was mistaken for a samurai sword. ColinFarmer, 61, required hospital treatment after being shot in the back with the 50,000-volt device and handcuffed on the ground in last Friday’s incident in Chorley town centre.
He said he had filed a formal complaint and was considering legal action against Lancashire constabulary, which has apologised and referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
MrFarmer, who used to run an architecture business, said he felt like he was ‘trapped in a nightmare’ after being hit by the Taser while walking to meet his friends for a drink.
‘I didn’t even know the police were there. I heard this man shouting. I thought they were shouting at some people,’ he said. I certainly didn’t know they were police – and I certainly didn’t know they were shouting at me.’
He continued: ‘I thought I was going to be attacked by some hooligans. The next thing they fired a Taser at me, though I didn’t know it was a Taser at the time.
‘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.’
MrFarmer went on to say: ‘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. I was absolutely terrified. I thought any second I’m going to have another stroke and this one will kill me.’
Lancashire constabulary Chief Superintendent StuartWilliams said police had received reports of a man carrying a samurai sword through Chorley.
‘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.’
Ch SuptWilliams said the force ‘deeply regrets’ what happened.
‘We have clearly put this man through a traumatic experience and we are extremely sorry for that,’ he explained.
‘Officers have remained in contact with him and his family over the past few days to enquire about his recovery and we will continue to keep in touch with him and keep him informed of our inquiry.
‘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.’