Blind Man Shot By Taser As Officers Mistake White Stick For Samurai Sword

Irwin Mitchell Raise Fresh Concerns Over Taser Use As IPCC Set To Investigate


A leading public lawyer says a full and thorough investigation must be completed as soon as possible as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmed it was to look into an incident where a blind man with a white stick was wrongly hit by a taser.

Officers shot the innocent blind man with a 50,000 volt taser after believing his white stick was a samurai sword. Colin Farmer, 61, was hit while police were following up reports of a man walking through Chorley, Lancashire, on Friday evening (12 October) with a sword. Mr Farmer has now said he will take legal action and has made a formal complaint which the IPCC will now investigate.

Yogi Amin, an expert civil liberties lawyer at law firm Irwin Mitchell which has previous raised concerns about police use of tasers, said: “This is terrible incident in which it appears that an innocent and vulnerable victim has been wrongly targeted and we hope the IPCC will complete its investigation as soon as possible so that lessons can be learned from this.

“The officers are said to have knelt on him as he lay helpless on the floor and handcuffed his hands behind his back. This will have been a distressing and traumatic situation for him and it is unacceptable for a clearly innocent man to be treated in this way.”

The blind former architect thought the officers must have been shouting at someone else to stop walking and assumed he was being attacked by hooligans when he was shot. It is believed he had recently spent time in hospital after suffering a stroke.

Irwin Mitchell has previously represented a number of people injured as a result of police officers using excessive force or tasers, including a man shot twice on a bus in Leeds with a taser after he fell into a diabetic coma.

Yogi Amin added: “It is crucial that the police provide assurances that officers are being properly training and that the responsibilities of when and how they should deploy tasers are clearly explained.

“This latest incident raises fresh concerns that officers may be using them in situations when they may not suitable.

“Victims of unwarranted taser attacks can suffer serious physical and psychological injuries that can have a long lasting impact so it is important that their use is appropriate.”

Lancashire police’s Chief Superintendant Stuart Williams said the force deeply regretted the incident and said they had also launched an urgent investigation to understand what lessons could be learned.

A 27-year-old man carrying a samurai sword was later arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.