61-year-old Colin Farmer was enjoying a stroll down the street, minding his own business, when a police officer tasered him because he thought his walking stick was a samurai sword. Farmer, who is blind and partially paralyzed down one side of his body, was on his way to meet some friends in Chorley, Lancashire when he was struck with the officer’s stun gun.
Officers received reports that a man was walking around town bearing a large sword when they spotted Farmer. The officer with the stun gun claims that he called for Farmer to stop, but when he kept moving, he opened fire only to realize his mistake moments too late.
“I was slowly making my way down the street when I heard this man shouting,” said Farmer. “I had no idea it was directed at me and I just kept thinking, ‘I’ve got to get out of here’ because I thought they were hooligans trying to mug me. I was terrified. But suddenly I felt a huge force on my back and this electric shock went right through my body. I thought I was being killed. My muscles just went and I dropped my walking stick and collapsed on to the floor. I thought I was having another stroke.
Farmer, who has five sons and two grandchildren, was left blind and partially paralyzed after a stroke in 2008. He suffered a second stroke in March of this year.
This just shows how some police officers abuse their power. Last year in the UK, tasers were fired by police 1,081 time compared to 744 in 2011, a 45 percent rise. Tasers, while a less lethal alternative to guns, does not mean it’s okay to shoot down anyone that doesn’t respond to an officer. Tasers fire a 50,000-volt charge into the victim via two barbs attached to thin metal wires.
The officer who fired the taser was not suspended, but Farmer is taking legal action.
“He was not an officer of the law; he was an absolute thug with a licence to carry a dangerous weapon,” Farmer said.