Police believe that they were in danger when a driver crashed into a number of cars and then refused to obey their orders after getting out of his car. That was when a police officer used a stun gun twice on a 78-year-old diabetic man who had low blood sugar.
ABC News reported that the situation happened this past Sunday morning in the parking lot of a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The unidentified man was driving through the parking lot and crashed into a number of parked cars. An officer responded to the scene and attempted to stop the man, but he just kept on driving and actually hit another vehicle. The man then backed into the police cruiser before coming to a stop.
Police state that the driver did not obey numerous commands to stop, and he then reached for something on the seat. The officer believed he was attempting to get a weapon and used a stun gun on him twice.
Deputy Portland Police Chief Corey MacDonald believes the officer acted appropriately.
“This allowed the officer to finally take control of the situation and get the driver into handcuffs.”
According to Yahoo News, firefighters noticed that the man was rather “weak” after receiving the two hits from the stun gun. They then realized he was a diabetic, and that his blood sugar was extremely low.
Fire Chief Steve Achilles said that diabetics with low blood sugar can often be angry or combative and “challenging.” He said it is common for them, and that makes emergency medical response a bit harder to do.
While still on the scene, the elderly gentleman was given some intravenous treatment and his condition was said to have improved quickly. He was still taken to a hospital to make sure all was right with his condition.
MacDonald said that the situation and the use of the stun gun on the diabetic driver is a regretful choice, but it was necessary.
“Upon initial review, though the incident is regrettable for all involved, the officer appears to have used reasonable non-lethal force to end a potentially dangerous situation. Our police officers are not paramedics. They are charged with bringing dangerous situations under control. This driver could just as easily have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or engaging in willful criminal conduct.”
As with all incidents that are use-of-force by police officers, it will be subject to a review by a police committee. The driver was not charged in the incident, as the damage to other cars was minor.
The use of stun guns and weapons has been under fire by police in the past year, and many are wondering what exactly constitutes “excessive force.” This is especially true in the “I Can’t Breathe” case, where Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by New York police officers.
The diabetic driver who did get the stun gun shocks from the police did not comment on taking action against police for the treatment.
[Image via Onwravens]