A blind, double stroke victim is launching a bid for compensation after police mistook his white stick for a samurai sword and shot him in the back with a 50,000-volt Taser gun.
Colin Farmer was on his way to meet friends at a pub in Chorley, Lancashire at 5.45pm last Friday when a police officer allegedly approached him from behind, shouted for him to stop, then shot him in the back with the Taser.
The 61-year-old initially thought he was being attacked by muggers and cried out “I’m blind, I’m blind” as he collapsed on the floor, but was still handcuffed by the Lancashire Police Officer.
Police had originally been called to the street after receiving reports of a man armed with a deadly martial arts weapon walking around the town centre.
The officer involved claims he called to Mr Farmer to stop, but when he carried on walking ahead the officer fired his weapon only to realise his mistake.
Today Mr Farmer’s solicitors confirmed he was planning to launch a civil claim against Lancashire police.
In a statement, they said Mr Farmer had instructed Sophie Khan of McMillan Williams Solicitors to represent him “in his civil claim for compensation against Lancashire Constabulary”.
The statement said: “Mr Farmer, who is registered blind/partially sighted and has suffered two strokes in the past, was Tasered by Chorley police officers on Friday October 12 whilst he was out walking in the late afternoon.
”The officers mistook Mr Farmer's white walking stick for a samurai sword and as a result Tasered Mr Farmer in the back.
“The officer involved has yet to be suspended from carrying a Taser despite the fact that the officer involved would need to be investigated for both disciplinary proceedings and criminal assault on Mr Farmer.
”The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have indicated that they are conducting an investigation and McMillan Williams will be writing to the IPCC to find out what steps they are taking regarding this serious incident.“
Mr Farmer was taken to hospital for treatment after being Tasered, and was later released. He claims the force used in the arrest left him bruised, and broke a family heirloom bracelet which had belonged to his grandfather during the First World War.
The retired company director, who has suffered two strokes in the past, claims the Taser could have killed him, and said he wants the officer responsible 'sacked, charged and locked-up' after his 'real-life nightmare'.
“This Taser could have killed me and if something happens to me a result of the shock I got, I hope the officer will be done for manslaughter,” he said.
He went on: “I'm now scared of walking on my own outside now and so jumpy I have not been sleeping since. The whole thing was like being trapped in a real-life nightmare.”
The father of five, who has two grandchildren and reportedly walks “at a snail’s pace”, has made a formal complaint and said he intends to take legal action against Lancashire Constabulary, which has issued an apology and launched an investigation.
Telling the Daily Mail about the frightening situation last week, Mr Farmer said: “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.”
“In my opinion this officer was a man on a mission he was going to use that gun no matter what. The stress of this could still kill me in six months if I have another stroke and the police would have blood on their hands.”
Lancashire Police has said it “extremely sorry” for putting Mr Farmer through the 'traumatic' experience.
Chief Superintendent Stuart Williams, of Chorley Police, said the matter had been referred to the Independent Police Complains Commission.
He added that officers attended to Mr Farmer 'straight away' when it became apparent he was not the offender they were looking for.
“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.”
Following the incident a 27-year-old man was arrested in Chorley on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, but later released without charge.