‘What did I do?’: 75-year-old suddenly tasered by police while in his underwear

·2 min read
Police body camera footage of a 75-year-old being tasered (Idaho Police Department/Washington Post)
Police body camera footage of a 75-year-old being tasered (Idaho Police Department/Washington Post)

A 75-year-old man suffered a stroke and a burst appendix after he was tasered by police in Idaho Springs, Colorado, while he was in his underwear.

Michael Clark allegedly answered the door of his apartment on 30 May to Nicholas Hanning and another officer from the Idaho Springs Police Department, when they ordered him to drop a sword-like weapon.

Mr Clark, who will reportedly file a lawsuit against the police department in the coming days, put the item on a shelf behind him, and told the officers he would not get on the ground, after they ordered him to do so.

Shortly after that, Mr Hanning aimed and fired his taser at the 75-year-old without warning. Mr Clarke was seen in body camera footage released on Thursday falling backwards and hitting his head. He appeared unconscious.

Mr Hanning and his female colleague, who has not been identified, then dragged Mr Clark from his apartment, and forced him into handcuffs. His lawyer, Sarah Schielke, obtained the footage.

She told The Washington Post she would be filing a lawsuit on behalf of Mr Clark “very soon”, and that her client’s health was declining following the incident, from which he suffered a stroke and burst appendix. He also required weeks of hospital treatment.

“There is this toxic culture of never expecting to be held accountable in police forces,” said Ms Schielke of the footage. “What’s happening is we’re putting cameras on them, and they’re not changing their behaviour or attitude.”

Mr Hanning, who was fired on 15 July after three years with the Idaho Springs Police Department, was charged with third-degree assault. The department’s chief, Nathan Buseck, said the former officer’s actions were “not reflective of the culture of our organisation”.

“People like this should not be police,” Mr Clark added in a statement on Thursday. “What they took from me that day, I can’t put into words. I’m going to do whatever it takes with what little time I have left to stop this from happening to anyone else ever again”.

A neighbour was seen in the body camera footage telling officers that she argued with Mr Clark because he told her to be quiet, although she herself was asleep. The woman also accused the 75-year-old of punching her in the face.

It is not the first time a taser has been used by police against at vulnerable targets, with officers in Port Allen, Louisiana, firing a taser at a 67-year-old man who also needed hospital treatment in March.

The Independent could not reach a lawyer for Mr Hanning.

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