An elderly South Carolina man who is believed to suffer from dementia is now in intensive care after police used a Taser to take him down, with authorities claiming that the man had been driving erratically before getting aggressive with arresting officers.
Albert Chatfield, an 86-year-old from Kingstree, had the police called on him for allegedly making U-turns and running a red light on a trafficked roadway, the Kingstree News reported. Officers arrived and followed him to the middle of an intersection, where Chatfield got out of his car.
When told to get down on the ground, Chatfield allegedly adopted a fighting stance and began to jog and walk backwards into traffic. That’s when officers decided they had to escalate the situation to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
“You have an elderly man still charging and he wants to fight the police so they got the tazer and pulled on him to try and calm him down so they could talk to him,” said Kingstree Police Chief James Barr.
The taser caused Chatfield to go crashing to the ground, striking his head and injuring his nose, the Washington Post reported. He remains in an intensive care unit where he is being treated for bleeding from the brain and can only breathe through a ventilator.
“They messed up big time,” the family’s attorney, Justin Bamberg, said of the Kingstree police. “This is a case of a mental-health issue, and officers not being properly trained to handle these situations. Not everyone that you run into that isn’t listening to you is a danger. Maybe they need help. Instead of helping, they put him in intensive care.”
While Barr agreed that Chatfield’s mental health was suffering and noted that he would not face any charges, he defended his officers’ use of the taser.
“After we got the medical report now we understand why he was doing what he was doing,” he said. “But for officers’ safety and his safety, that’s why he was tazed because he was in a rage and trying to fight in the middle of the highway. We didn’t want the man to get hit.”