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article imageUK police tasered blind stroke victim

By Anne Sewell     Oct 17, 2012 in World
Chorley - A 61-year-old, blind, two-time stroke victim in northern England, was tasered and then handcuffed by police, who mistook his white stick for a samurai sword.
Colin Farmer, a retired architect, has suffered two strokes, the most recent requiring two months in hospital in March. He has limited vision and uses a white stick to make his way along. He was walking down a street in Chorley, Lancashire on Friday evening when he was accosted by the police.
Farmer told reporters, “I heard this male voice shouting and bawling at me from behind and I became frightened because I thought I was about to be mugged.”
“Obviously I am the perfect target for muggers, because I don't know what is going on around me and I carried on walking in the hope I would get away."
According to Farmer, the next thing that happened was he felt “this thump in the back, this huge electric shock” and it was like “thousands of volts going through his body”.
“I thought that I was honestly going to die and they were going to kill me. All my muscles turned to dust and I thought I was having another stroke. I said 'I'm blind, I'm blind. I'm blind,' but this policeman knelt on me and dragged my arms round my back.”
It was apparently at this point that another policeman (who Farmer calls the "good cop") realized that Farmer was not a criminal, and he was taken to hospital.
Lancashire police say they “deeply regret” putting Farmer through a “traumatic experience,” but say they made an honest mistake.
According to the police, Farmer's white stick matched the description of a samurai sword, reportedly being wielded in the area by another Chorley resident. They further claim that Farmer’s behavior prompted the tasering.
Chief Superintendent Stuart Williams told reporters, “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.”
"We have clearly put this man through a traumatic experience and we are extremely sorry for that," Williams said, adding they have remained in contact with the man and his family over the past few days to follow up on his recovery.
However, Farmer is not satisfied with the explanation. “I walk at a snail's pace. They could have walked past me, driven past me in the van, or said drop your weapon – but as far as I'm concerned they didn't.”
Farmer says that since the incident, he is still unable to sleep or go outside, and will not be satisfied until some action is taken. Apparently the incident has been referred to Independent Police Complaints Commission, and an investigation will be conducted.
“I want this officer sacked, charged and locked up because there is no excuse whatsoever for attacking a registered blind and disabled retired man without warning and with such a potentially lethal weapon,” he said.
In the meantime, the real owner of the samurai sword, a “drunk and disorderly” 27-year-old man, was arrested later the same evening. Ironically there was no taser use, and he was released with no charge.
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