PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — An officer feared he was in danger when he twice used a stun gun on a 78-year-old diabetic driver with low blood sugar who crashed into several cars and refused orders to stop, police say.
The incident unfolded Sunday morning in the parking lot of a BJ's Wholesale Club in Portsmouth when the man crashed into parked cars. When a responding officer tried to stop the man, he kept driving, hit another vehicle, then backed into the police cruiser, the Portsmouth Herald (http://bit.ly/1C0xDEh) reported.
The driver, who was not identified, didn't obey several commands to stop, and when he reached for something on the seat, the officer thought he was trying to get a weapon and used a stun device on him twice.
"This allowed the officer to finally take control of the situation and get the driver into handcuffs," Corey MacDonald, deputy Portsmouth police chief, told the newspaper.
Fire Chief Steve Achilles said firefighters observed that the driver was "weak" after being shocked and determined he was diabetic and his blood sugar was low. Achilles said it is not uncommon for diabetics in that condition to be combative or angry, making responses by emergency officials "challenging."
The driver was given intravenous treatment, and his condition rapidly improved. He was taken to a hospital as a precaution. He was not charged, and damage to the cars was minor.
"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," MacDonald said. "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."
The incident, like all use-of-force episodes, will be subject to review by a police committee.
Information from: Portsmouth Herald, http://www.seacoastonline.com