IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — A former Idaho Springs Police officer, fired after he used a Taser on an innocent 75-year-old, is expected to accept a plea deal that the victim’s family finds insulting.
The Problem Solvers have learned 36-year old Nicholas Hanning has agreed to plead guilty to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, at a disposition hearing Thursday afternoon before Judge Cynthia Jolene Jones in Clear Creek County.
Hanning was originally charged with felony assault of an at-risk adult for a May 30 Taser incident involving Michael Clark. Clark remains in a metro hospital six months after Hanning used a stun gun on him.
“He was so independent and on his own, and now he can’t even eat on his own,” said Clark’s daughter, Cynthia Flageolle, who is vehemently opposed to the plea deal. “It’s a slap in the face to my dad and our family, and it’s an injustice.”
“He (Hanning) won’t even face jail time. Maybe a probation officer,” Flageolle’s brother, Jeremy Clark, said.
The two siblings have created a change.org petition asking people to sign the form with one goal: get the judge to reject the plea deal.
Clark suffered heart attack after Taser
Hanning never announced he was a police officer in the May 30 incident, when Clark answered the door to two police officers investigating a next-door neighbor’s complaint that she had been punched in the face by Clark. Before Clark was allowed to explain that he had never met the neighbor before, let alone punched her, Hanning used the Taser on him.
Body camera video revealed the neighbor next door appeared to be drunk, but she was never charged with filing a false police report.
Clark’s two adult children tell FOX31 they have provided signed documents from doctors confirming their father suffered “serious bodily injury,” which is often necessary to sustain a felony assault charge.
“Mr. Clark suffered a heart attack after having been tasered,” one letter signed by Clark’s cardiac doctor reads.
Another doctor’s notes read, “I have seen the body camera footage and there is no doubt in my mind that the head trauma sustained set off the cascade of events that he has dealt with since May (subdural hemotoma, seizure, tia, mood changes/PTSD).”
“He’s never going to be the same man who lived on his own,” Jeremy Clark said.
The siblings feel prosecutors are ignoring their own evidence to let a police officer off easy.
“It’s infuriating. My dad deserves better than that,” Flageolle said.
District attorney responds
The siblings will be allowed to share their concerns at Thursday’s disposition hearing, but it would be unusual for a judge to reject a plea deal that’s been worked out between the district attorney and the defendant.
FOX31 reached out to the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
“While we understand the sentiment some people in the community may have about this case, at this time Mr. Hanning has not entered a plea,” Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi S. McCollum said in a statement. “Accordingly, as the District Attorney, comment on any possible disposition would be a breach of our ethical responsibilities as prosecutors and violate our obligations to the court, victim and defendant to ensure that in the event a trial does take place, it is fair and impartial.”