Lancashire Police Officer Who Electrocuted Innocent Blind Man Keeps His Taser
COLIN Farmer was 63 when he was handcuffed by police October 12, 2012. He is partially sighted. He carries a white stick.
But one copper, a PC Stuart Wright, thought that white stick looked like a samurai sword. PC Wright is not partially sighted. But he might be mentally negligible.
Mr Farmer “posed no threat” as he walked to the pub in Chorley, in Lancashire.
But police has been called. A passer-by had mistakenly thought Mr Farmer was carrying a weapon.
Soon, PC Wright arrived. He saw Mr Farmer. He shot his taser at Mr Farmer.
As his victim lay prone on the ground, the copper told a colleague, who had arrived later: “I think I’ve got the wrong person.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said PC Stuart Wright should face gross misconduct proceedings. But Lancashire Constabulary thought it better the copper who electrocuted an innocent man with 50,000 volts must be issued with a “performance improvement notice” and apologise personally to Mr Farmer.
Mr Farmer is “stunned” that criminal charges are not being brought against the PC.
The Times sums up the litany of errors:
Its report in August found that PC Wright ignored instructions and radio transmissions about how officers were to search the area and respond to any sightings of a man with a sword. He also failed to comply with local and national guidelines in relation to the use of Taser, and “caused further distress” to Mr Farmer by detaining him in handcuffs despite it being obvious he had the wrong man.
IPCC Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone says:
“Mr Farmer was subjected to what must have been a terrifying ordeal. Our view was that PC Wright could and should have listened to instructions from his force controller and taken greater steps to ascertain whether Mr Farmer was the sword-carrying man that had been reported by members of the public and when he realised his mistake should have acted quicker to put things right.
“There is public concern about use of force, and, particularly, Taser. Incidents such as this do little to ease that concern.
“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.”
Learning lessons is the political buzz phrase. No one is every wrong so long as they learn lessons.
One lesson might be: don’t arm police.