United Kingdom

Colorado man, 75, sues police officer who tasered him in his home and then kneeled on his neck

A 75-year-old Colorado man has filed a lawsuit after a police officer used a taser on him in his own home without warning and knelt on his neck, causing months of injury which required surgery.

Michael Clark was at home when Nicholas Hanning, an officer with Idaho Springs police department, arrived on May 30.

Clark, thinking it was his neighbor, with whom he argued, opened the door holding an ornamental Hawaiian sword, and was tasered in less than a minute.

He says he lost consciousness and struck a chair as he fell. His lawsuit asserts that Hanning then put pressure on his neck that deprived him of oxygen, prolonged his loss of consciousness and increased his risk of death.

Hanning has been charged with third-degree assault and fired.  

Sarah Schielke, Clark's attorney, of The Life & Liberty Law Office, says Clark spent the day of May 30 putting American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

'He would end the day tased, tackled, kicked, and choked by Idaho Springs Police officers while he was unarmed and unclothed, inside his own apartment,' Schielke said. 

Michael Clark opened the door at 10:50pm on May 30 holding an ornamental sword, which he dropped when the police asked him to. One of the officers then used his taser on Clark

Clark had been involved in a dispute with his neighbor, so grabbed the sword to open the door

Police body camera footage shows the May 30 encounter in Idaho Springs, Colorado

Nicholas Hanning, a police officer in Colorado, used a Taser on a 75-year-old man less than a minute after he answered his door with a 'Hawaiian sword'

Body camera footage released last week appears to show Hanning's knee on Clark's neck as the handcuffed man laid on the ground after being stunned and dragged out of his apartment. 

The officer's knee is not always in view, so it's not clear how long that lasted. 

Within about 15 seconds, Hanning's knee can be seen again but on Clark's back just below the neck.

Police initially said Clark and an officer got into an altercation before the Taser was used but later said Hanning initiated the altercation and that Clark put down a sword-like weapon when asked. 

Police Chief Nathan Buseck, who asked prosecutors to investigate, declined to comment on pending litigation.

Colorado lawmakers passed a sweeping police reform law during nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing last year by a Minneapolis officer who pressed a knee into his neck. 

Clark is seen on the ground, having been Tasered by the officer

A female officer can be seen dragging Clark's wrist, while Hanning grabbed his feet

Hanning can be seen kneeling on Clark's neck during the arrest

Clark was then sat up and placed in handcuffs, asking what he had done wrong

It banned officers from using chokeholds, defined as any pressure that could make breathing difficult or impossible or pressure to the carotid arteries to stop the flow of blood to the brain.

Clark's body began sending blood cells to the injured carotid artery within 24 hours and he had a stroke the next day, according to the lawsuit.

Clark is suing Hanning, another officer with him at Clark's apartment, their supervisor and the city.

According to the footage and court documents, Hanning and his partner knocked on the door to Clark's apartment without announcing they were police. 

A 30-year-old woman who had just moved in next door had accused Clark of punching her in the face, which Clark later denied. The lawsuit alleges the woman was intoxicated, offered authorities varying accounts of what happened and had no injuries.

Clark had yelled through the wall at his new neighbors about making loud noise as he was trying to sleep, according to the lawsuit. 

He answered the door with a collectible sawfish snout sword, thinking it might be the neighbors coming to confront him, but only realized it was the police once he opened the door, it said.

Clark was left seriously injured after the May 30 encounter and is yet to return home, his lawyer has said

The officers' body camera footage shows Hanning going into Clark's apartment and telling him to put down the sword, which Clark does immediately. 

The lawsuit says Hanning also kicked Clark in the knee and punched him in the head.

Clark then refused the officers' conflicting commands to get on the ground and get out of the apartment, forcefully saying: 'No,' the video shows. 

Then, as Clark was talking about his neighbors being noisy, Hanning used his Taser on him, less than a minute after Clark opened his door. 

Clark fell immediately and his his head on a chair.

He was visibly bleeding from a cut above his right eye and Hanning told him: 'You're under arrest right now.'

Clark asked: 'What's going on? I've done nothing wrong. What did I do?'

'You punched that girl… then you answered the door with a freaking machete,' Hanning answered.

'I attacked nobody… I was just laying in bed,' Clark said. 

Eight weeks after Clark was wheeled out of his apartment building with his arms and ankles tied to a stretcher, he has not been able to return home and is in a nursing home in need of surgery on his heart and to remove a burst appendix, according to the lawsuit. 

Doctors do not think his heart is strong enough to undergo surgery on his appendix and they do not want to operate on his heart and risk infection caused by the ruptured appendix, it said.

Football news:

Lewandowski scored in the 13th Bundesliga home game in a row. This is a record
Inaki Williams has the 200th match for Athletic in a row
Tarjei Bo about Norwegian football players: They have become a model for everyone who wants to use sports as a platform for statements. We must be the same as them
Tyuram about the best players: Lukaku is incredible. Mbappe and Marquinhos
We finally found out Messi's salary: he will earn 110 million in 3 years (if he does not leave earlier), he will receive 1 million in the crypt
Man City spends a lot of money to play in their own style. This is not suitable for everyone. Benitez about the Premier League
Bale will miss about two months. He will not play before November