IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — On the same day he filed a federal lawsuit against the Idaho Springs Police Department for a stun gun incident that led to a stroke, Michael Clark gave his first interview to the Problem Solvers.
“All I want is the truth, justice, and I don’t want anybody else to suffer what I have suffered myself,” Clark said.
Officer Nicholas Hanning deployed a Taser against the 75-year-old in his own apartment on May 30.
Hanning has since been terminated and charged with felony assault of an at-risk adult.
Clark was hospitalized with heart issues after the incident and suffered a stroke two days later, followed by a burst appendix in mid-June.
He’s now using a wheelchair because his ability to walk has been limited because of his health complications following the stun gun incident.
“My freedom,” is what Clark said he has lost, and by that, he also meant his ability to be presumed innocent of a crime before police officers began questioning him.
“It’s absurd that the people, the police officers, jumped to a conclusion I was guilty,” Clark said.
Police first knocked on Clark’s door because a female neighbor had reported Clark had punched her in the mouth.
Clark said he had never met his brand new neighbor and only knocked on her wall to tell her to be quiet so he could sleep.
Police reports obtained by FOX31 suggest the neighbor was drunk at the time she made her report and “appeared to still be intoxicated” the next day when Hanning tried to obtain a statement from her.
Clark said the neighbor should have been charged with making a false police report.
“They (police) should have filed a charge but they dropped the ball,” Clark said.
Clark said police automatically took the word of a woman who appeared to be drunk when they knocked on his door without announcing who they were.
“They (police) didn’t exercise any kind of restraint. They didn’t even give me a chance to explain myself,” Clark said.
After Clark was hit by Taser probes, he lost consciousness for 2 minutes and 23 seconds.
During that time, body camera video showed Hanning and Officer Ellie Summers dragging Clark out of his apartment.
Then Hanning went back into Clark’s apartment and grabbed a sawfish sword and threw it in the hallway.
Clark said he had initially answered the door holding a wall ornamental (the sawfish sword) as protection, because he thought it might be his neighbor knocking on his door late at night — not police.
After Clark realized it was two police officers at his door, body camera video showed him putting the sawfish sword on top of a book shelf.
When he later learned Hanning had removed the sawfish sword and put it in the hallway before paramedics arrived, Clark said it appeared to him Hanning was trying to engage in a coverup.
“They were planting evidence to cover their case,” Clark said.
Summers was given a written reprimand for pointing her gun at Clark without a good reason.
Clark said he believed Summers should have been fired as well.
“My view of it is: If there’s two people and one is assaulting a person and the other one stands by, stands back and takes no action, what’s that?” Clark said.
Clark told FOX31 that doctors are planning to reexamine him this week to see if his heart is finally strong enough to withstand surgery to remove his infected appendix.
In the meantime, he hopes his civil rights lawsuit will bring accountability to the Idaho Springs Police Department.
“I want to represent every person that has been or will be assaulted in this manner to get their day in court and justice and the truth,” Clark said.
Even if he makes a full recovery, Clark said he won’t feel safe enough to live in Idaho Springs again.