86-year-old man tased by Kingstree police; SLED investigating
KINGSTREE, S.C. (WCIV) — Officials with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division have confirmed the agency is investigating an incident in Kingstree during which a police officer shot an 86-year-old man with a taser.
According to an incident report provided by the Kingstree Police Department, the tasing followed a chase through several intersections. Police were responding to a complaint about tailgating involving a white, Ford Expedition.
The report states when the Expedition finally stopped in the area of N. Brooks Street and East Main, 86-year-old Albert Chatfield jumped out of the SUV, ignored orders to get on the ground and "took a fighting stance."
Officers claim as he was jogging away from them and walking backwards, there was a concern he would end up in oncoming traffic. At that moment, the report states, an officer fired his taser -- with probes striking Chatfield in the left side and upper chest.
The report goes on to state Mr. Chatfield was taken to the Williamsburg County hospital where it was discovered bleeding had accumulated on his brain.
Chatfield and his family are currently represented by attorney Justin T. Bamberg. While the incident report states Chatfield's daughter told officers he had "acted out" with her earlier in the day and may be off prescribed medication, Bamberg argues things could have been handled differently.
In a statement sent to ABC News 4, Bamberg said the following:
“On behalf of Mr. Chatfield and his family, we would like to thank everyone for the outcry of support. Tasers by definition are not life-saving devices, but instead weapons that can cause irreparable injury and death. The tasering of Mr. Chatfield is a shining example of why law enforcement officers need be adequately trained in the constitutional use of force. Such unreasonable use of force on a senior citizens represents the very problem so many American’s are afraid of: inhumane treatment unbefitting of an animal, let alone another human being."
SLED spokesman Thom Berry said the agency is investigating per the request of Kingstree Police Department Chief James Barr.
Check back with ABC News 4 as we continue to follow this story.