Two Colorado police officers confronted a 75-year-old man in his apartment on the night of May 30 after reports of an altercation with his neighbor and later fired a stun gun at the half-naked, unarmed elder, who dropped on the ground and hit his head.
New body camera footage was recently released, showing the incident and how the victim, Michael Clark, was speaking with officers. Clark's attorney, Sarah Schielke, provided the video, arguing the victim was clad in only boxers and did not even have a shirt on.
Shirtless, Unarmed Man Stunned
The footage showed Clark unarmed a few seconds before Idaho Springs Police Officer Nicholas Hanning shot the elderly with a stun gun. Hanning then dragged the unconscious Clark with the help of his partner, Ellie Summers, outside of the apartment and proceeded to handcuff the 75-year-old man.
In the footage that Schielke released this week, the attorney partially blurred the non-law enforcement individuals seen in the video. She said that the district attorney has not done so. On Thursday, the legal expert said a judge released bodycam footage to Clark. Schielke noted that the victim's health was deteriorating.
The video recording showed the moment after he opened the door to talk to the officers where the elder held what Schielke called a "sawfish type sword." She argued that Clark immediately put the object back on top of a furniture stand after seeing the two law enforcement personnel, NBC News reported.
After the incident, Clark was hospitalized for weeks and later admitted to a nursing facility due to suffering a stroke and a burst appendix. The elder was not charged with a crime, unlike Hanning who was charged with third-degree assault against an at-risk person earlier this month. The three-year member of the force was fired on July 15 with Idaho Springs Police Chief Nathan Buseck, saying the officer's actions were not reflective of their organization.
Schielke said that there was a growing, toxic culture in the police force that officers cannot be held accountable for their actions. She argued that despite putting body cameras and recording footage, officers do not change their behavior or attitude, the Washington Post reported.
Fear of Opening the Door
Jeremy Clark, the victim's 39-year-old son, said that the two months his family spent after the incident was "hell." He said that the encounter started after a neighbor called police to report Clark of allegedly banging on the shared wall and punching her.
The victim's son said police immediately assumed things from the moment they encountered his father and attacked the elder in their own home. Failing to hold back his tears, Jeremy said the incident scared him, not just for his father, but for other fathers as well. He argued no one should fear having someone knock on their door and fighting for life for two months for opening the door.
In a statement, Buseck said that the May 30 encounter was "not acceptable and that the police department took quick and decisive action to investigate the incident and the officers involved. He said that the Idaho Springs Police Department took pride in its relationship with citizens.