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Crime and Courts

Ex-Colorado cop sentenced for using stun gun on elderly man

Nicholas Hanning, who was an Idaho Springs police officer, was sentenced to two years of probation

A courtroom gavel. (Joe Gratz, Flickr)

GEORGETOWN — A former Colorado police officer who shot a 75-year-old man with a stun gun without warning, requiring the man to be taken to the hospital, was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation.

Nicholas Hanning, who was an Idaho Springs police officer, pleaded guilty in December to misdemeanor third-degree assault and permanently relinquished his right to serve as a law enforcement officer in the state. In addition to probation, he must complete 150 hours of community service and 120 days of electronic home monitoring.

According to police body camera footage and court documents, Hanning and another officer knocked on Michael Clark’s apartment door May 30 without announcing they were officers. A 30-year-old woman who had just moved in next door had accused Clark of punching her in the face, which Clark later denied.

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Clark opened the door — yelling, “What do you want?” — and Hanning forced him into a wall, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Clark was holding what his attorney said was a collectible sword made from a sawfish snout and put it away but refused repeated police commands to both lie down and leave the apartment. Hanning then used his stun gun on Clark, who fell and hit a chair.

Hanning told a paramedic that he also kicked Clark in the knee and punched him in the back of the head, according to the affidavit. Within days, Clark was hospitalized for a stroke and other health problems, according to his family lawyer, Sarah Schiekle.

Police determined that Hanning initiated the altercation and that Clark put the sword-like weapon down when asked.

Hanning was fired after the confrontation.


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