In October 2012, a British police officer shot an innocent blind man with a taser gun after mistaking his white stick for a samurai sword.
The man, 61-year-old Colin Farmer, was attacked by the officer in Chorley, Lancashire, UK after police had received reports of a man walking throughout town carrying a sword.
After the incident initially occurred, Farmer described the unusual experience to The Guardian.
“I was just walking along and I heard some men shouting really angrily and thought I’m going to get mugged. I didn’t know any police were here. The Taser hit me in the back and it started sending all these thousands of volts through me and I was terrified. I mean I had two strokes already caused by stress. I dropped the stick involuntarily and I collapsed on the floor face down,” Farmer said.
Since the incident occurred, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been conducting an investigation into the officer’s actions.
According to BreakingNews.ie, the officer responsible for firing the Taser gun, Pc Stuart Wright, used force that was “unnecessary and disproportionate to the circumstances." The report ultimately found that Wright had not acted under “gross incompetence,” but should face certain penalties, such as a performance notice. Wright is also expected to issue an apology to Farmer.
IPCC Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said that he believed an apology would be a major step for the officer in atoning for his actions.
“I hope that the personal apology to Mr. Farmer allows the officer to reassure him that he will learn lessons from these events and that the improvement plan for the officer and measures taken by the force to improve its training and communications prevent further incidents such as this,” Dipple-Johnstone said.
The commission ultimately found that Wright had acted under the belief that Wright posed a threat, so he is not expected to face any further disciplinary action.