A timeline of 75-year-old Michael Clark's forceful arrest and aftermath:
- July 14: 75-year-old Idaho Springs man recovered after being tased without warning by police
- July 16: Idaho Springs police officer who tased 75-year-old man without warning has been fired
- July 23: Body camera footage showing violent arrest of 75-year-old Idaho Springs man released
- July 26: Idaho Springs police sued over violent arrest of 75-year-old man
An Idaho Springs police officer was fired Friday after tasing and forcefully arresting a 75-year-old man in May.
Officer Nicholas Hanning is facing one charge of third-degree assault on an at-risk adult and a class 6 felony for his role in the arrest. If convicted, Hanning could face one year to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Hanning had previously been on administrative leave. He’s worked for the department for three years and has no prior complaints for use of force, according to a press release from the department.
On the night of May 30, Idaho Springs Police received a report of a man who hit a woman after an argument about a noise disturbance.
Michael Clark, the 75-year-old man, was in his apartment when Hanning and the other officer knocked on his door but did not announce who they were, according to Hanning’s arrest affidavit. Clark’s lawyer, Sarah Schielke, says Clark never left his apartment or struck the woman but did bang on his wall when she was being loud that night.
Clark opened his door holding what was described as a “Hawaiian sword.” Schielke said Clark did not know police were at his door and answered with the sword to protect himself, thinking it might be the neighbors at his door.
After being asked to put down the weapon, Clark set it on a shelf in his apartment. In less than 30 seconds and without warning, Hanning tased Clark who fell and hit his head on a dining chair.
Clark suffered heart complications and a stroke from the taser, according to Schielke. He also had a burst appendix and required surgery on his neck. Schielke said his health has continued to deteriorate.
The arrest affidavit for Hanning has screenshots and text descriptions of the video. Clear Creek County Judge Cynthia Jones ordered the district attorney to release the full body camera footage no later than July 29. The case is one of the first to test the state’s new law requiring the release of officer body camera footage in allegations of police misconduct.
An internal review of the incident was opened by Idaho Springs Police Department Chief Nathan Buseck, in addition to the criminal investigation being carried out by the District Attorney’s Office for the 5th Judicial District.