A sixty-one year old blind man who was tasered in the back by police has agreed an out of court settlement with Lancashire Constabulary.
The stroke victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was walking to meet friends at a pub in Chorley in 2012.
PC Stuart Wright mistook his white cane for a samurai sword before using his stun gun in the victim’s back. He then knelt on the man’s back and arrested him.
Police had earlier received reports that a man had been seen waving a sword around in the town centre.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques had previously said in a hearing at Lancashire Police HQ that the officer made a dreadful mistake. He added the officer did not perform his duties to a satisfactory standard but they did not feel it amounted to gross incompetence.
The findings of an IPCC investigation revealed the PC failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain if the victim was carrying a sword prior to taser discharge and that he caused further distress by detaining him in handcuffs despite it being obvious he had the wrong man.
It also found the officer ignored instructions and radio transmissions about how officers were to search the area and respond to any sightings of a man with a sword; and failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain if the man was carrying a sword prior to taser discharge.
In addition, it found the officer failed to comply with local and national guidelines in relation to the use of taser; and used a level of force unnecessary and disproportionate to the circumstances;
PC Wright was also told to apologise to the man and improve in his job.
The victim brought a claim against Lancashire Constabulary for false imprisonment, assault and battery and breach of the Human Rights Act 1998.
The settlement, subject to the court’s approval, is believed to be around £10,000.
Solicitor Sophie Khan said: “Lancashire Constabulary has admitted that their officer used unreasonable use of force to restrain the blind man and did not conduct an adequate risk assessment before discharging the taser.”