Colorado Police Officer Fired, Charged After Bodycam Video Shows Him Placing Weapon on Floor to Justify Tasing 75-Year-Old Man

Idaho Springs police officer Nicholas Hanning is seen picking up a sword-like weapon from the top of a shelving unit, where the elderly man left it, to the floor of the hallway near the apartment door to justify tasing him.

Bodycam footage released on Thursday shows an Idaho Springs police officer tasing a 75-year-old man inside his apartment without warning and then moved a sword-like weapon to justify their use of force.

The video shows Michael Clark falling backwards after being stunned by the taser fired by officer Nicholas Hanning on May 30. Hanning and another officer, Ellie Summers, were responding to a report filed by Clark's neighbor claiming he punched her in the face over a noise dispute.

Michael Clark and Nicholas Hanning
Michael Clark and Nicholas Hanning Twitter

The footage, made public by Clark's lawyer, Sarah Schielke, shows Hanning speaking to the neighbor, identified as Brittany Odom, before making his way to Clark's apartment. Hanning knocks on the door without identifying himself, prompting a shirtless Clark to open the door saying, "What do you want?"

Hanning Seen Moving Sword From Top of Shelving Unit to Hallway

Clark is seen carrying the shark-mouth sword in his right arm. The officers ask Clark to put down the weapon and he complies, placing it on top of a shelving unit. The officers ask him to get on the ground and Clark refuses as he tries to talk about noise being made by his neighbors.

Moments later, without warning Hanning tases Clark, striking Clark in his abdomen and pelvis area, causing him to fall backwards and lose consciousness. Hanning is then seen pulling on Clark's arm and ends up pulling his face into the shelving unit while attempting to drag him out of the apartment into the hallway. The footage shows Clark's bleeding from a cut above his right eye.

At one point, Hanning tries to restrain Clark by placing his knee over his neck – a controversial tactic that led to the death of George Floyd.

Hanning Moves the Sword from the Top of the Cabinet to the Hallway

Michael Clark bodycam
A still from the bodycam footage shows Hanning picking up the sword from the top of the shelving unit and placing it on the floor in the hallway. YouTube

As Hanning waited for Clark to regain consciousness, he is seen picking up the sword from the top of the shelving unit and then placing it outside on the floor of the hallway not far from the door of the apartment. Clark is heard questioning how the sword ended up in the hallway shortly after waking up. "I did not get that down," Clark says repeatedly after an EMT points out to him that the weapon was found on the floor of the hallway.

"What's going on? I've done nothing wrong. What did I do?," Clark asks, eventually. Hanning responds by saying, "You punched that girl... then you answered the door with a freaking machete."

"I attacked nobody... I was just laying in bed," Clark said as he denied attacking the neighbor.

Watch the full video below:

Clark Suffered a Stroke, Had to Undergo Artery Surgery

According to Schielke, Clark was non-responsive for 2 minutes and 23 seconds and her client spent a night in the hospital where his heart could be monitored due to increased troponin as a result of the tasing.

Michael Clark
Michael Clark before the incident (left) and after. Twitter

She added that Clark also began vomiting blood and suffered a stroke the next day. In the weeks that followed, Clark had to undergo a carotid artery surgery, and his appendix burst. She claims Clark also needs to have heart surgery, which doctors are "unsure he will survive."

Hanning Fired, Charged with Assault

Clark and his family pressed for the public release of the body camera footage because Schielke said police had released misleading information about what happened, suggesting Clark was at fault. Hanning, 35, was charged with third-degree assault of an at-risk adult, a class 6 felony earlier this month and terminated from the Idaho Springs Police Department, the department announced in a press release last week. He had worked for the department since October 2017

This article was first published on July 23, 2021