The Sideshow

Police use Taser on blind man, thinking his cane was samurai sword

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Actor Rutger Hauer in a still from the 1989 film "Blind Fury"

A blind man carrying a white cane received a 50,000-volt Taser shock from British police who thought his walking stick was a samurai sword.

"It felt like I was grabbing an electricity pylon," 61-year-old Colin Farmer told the BBC.

Lancashire police officer Stuart Williams said authorities had received several calls describing a man walking through the streets carrying a samurai sword.

"One of the officers who arrived in Chorley believed he had located the offender," Williams said. "Despite asking the man to stop, he failed to do so and the officer discharged his Taser."

However, even in offering an explanation, Williams said the police had "deep regrets" over the incident and says the Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched an investigation into the matter.

"We have clearly put this man through a traumatic experience, and we are extremely sorry for that," Williams said.

In fact, Farmer says he thought the police were criminals attempting to mug him when the assault took place. He said that once police approached him, he became "absolutely terrified," and repeatedly attempted to inform them that he was blind.

"I walk at a snail's pace. They could have walked past me, driven past me in a van or said: 'Drop your weapon,'" he said.

However, as far-fetched as it may sound, the samurai sword angle did not come out of nowhere. But the reality of the situation was far more mundane as opposed to resembling the plot line of the 1989 Rutger Hauer action film, "Blind Fury." After Williams was taken to a nearby hospital, police later arrested a 27-year-old man who was carrying a samurai sword and was suspected of being drunk and disorderly.

Williams said the police stayed with Farmer at the hospital until he was released and escorted him to a meeting with friends afterward, at his request.

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