Blind man tasered after his walking stick was mistaken for a gun by armed police officers
24 February 2017
A 43-year-old blind man was tasered by police as he waited on the platform for the a train home
Police tasered a blind man at a train station on Thursday evening after mistaking his walking stick for a gun.
Officers from Greater Manchester Police were called to a platform at Levenshulme Station after receiving a call that a middle-aged man had been seen holding a firearm.
Arriving at the scene, officers tasered the man with a 50,000 volt stun gun, after he failed to respond to police calls to drop what they believed to be a weapon.
In fact, the 43-year-old was blind and had been holding his cane, folded up, as he waited on the platform for a train home.
The man is believed to have collapsed before then being detained by officers.
A local convenience store worker, Tasawar Dar, said he saw heavily armed police arrive at the scene at around 7pm on Thursday.
He added that another witness had claimed that officers had issued instructions at the man at gunpoint.
“I heard the police and they shouted ‘lie down on the ground’ and there was the bark of dog as well,” he told reporters.
“I saw a guy sitting on the stairs of the station and a police office came into the shop asking for a can of coke. They went out and gave it to the guy.
“A friend of mine said he saw them pointing the gun at the man as well. They left about half an hour later and then an ambulance came.”
Race-relations worker caught on camera being tasered by police 01:13
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the man had been detained before officers realised that the weapon was in fact a folding cane.
He added that the man was later released and the incident has been referred to the Force’s professional standards branch to investigate, adding
Superintendent Steve Howard, of GMP's City of Manchester Team, said: "Officers responded quickly to the incident to ensure the safety of the community of Levenshulme.
"It has been established that there was no threat and inquiries are ongoing to fully understand the circumstances of the incident.
"In line with standard procedure on occasions such as this, a referral has been made to GMP's Professional Standards Branch."
Allan Hogarth, Amnesty International's head of policy and Government affairs, said: “This is another extremely disturbing incident of a Taser apparently being misused.
“The Taser is a potentially lethal weapon which should be used only in a strictly limited set of circumstances, namely a threat to life or the risk of very serious injury.
“With growing numbers of police officers armed with Tasers, this incident shows again that they should be getting the same level of training as firearms officers.
“We’re calling for police officers to undergo rigorous training which takes into account how to respond to people in vulnerable groups, including the visually impaired.
“Amnesty remains concerned that police officers are still likely to cause serious harm using Tasers without appropriate training."