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Idaho Springs officer fired after being charged with assault for using stun gun on man in his 70s

Nicholas Hanning, who had been with the department for three years, is facing a third-degree assault charge.

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Idaho Springs police officer who was charged with assault for using stun gun on man in his 70s was fired Thursday due to the use of force incident, the police department said in a press release Friday.

He had been on administrative leave.  

Nicholas Hanning was formally charged with third-degree assault as a result of the incident.

> The video above is a previous 9NEWS story on this case.

Hanning worked with the Idaho Springs Police Department for the last three years. According to the department, Hanning had no complaints during that time for use of force.

The Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced the charges against Hanning last week. Prosecutors said he voluntarily turned himself in on a warrant and was ordered to relinquish all of the weapons in his possession.

"The Idaho Springs Police Department took immediate and decisive action by requesting that an outside agency perform a criminal investigation into the incident," Chief Nate Buseck said in a press release. “The actions of former Officer Hanning are not reflective of the culture of our organization. ISPD is an agency that takes great pride in how we interact with our citizens and this incident was not acceptable."

Credit: Idaho Springs Police Department
Nicholas Hanning

The charges stemmed from an incident that happened on May 30. According to prosecutors, Hanning and another officer named Ellie Summers were responding to a call regarding an alleged assault on a woman by her neighbor.

When officers contacted the suspect, who was described as a man in his 70s, he was holding a “sword-like weapon with what appeared to be teeth along both edges,” according to a news release from the District Attorney’s Office. Idaho Springs Police gave a similar description.

Hanning and the man got into a fight, the release said, and he deployed his stun gun after he and other officers gave multiple commands.

Attorney Sarah Schielke represents the victim, who she identified as Michael Clark, 75. She disputed information released by police and the district attorney.

"They pat themselves on the backs for charging Officer Hanning with a single low-level felony while simultaneously, in the very same releases, painting Michael -- the victim of Hanning's crime -- as some sort of crazed individual wielding a sword who deserved it," she said in a press release on Monday.

Schielke said that Idaho Springs Police officers entered Clark's apartment and tased, kicked, punched and choked him, and that Clark was hospitalized after suffering heart complications and a stroke.

While the case initially went to Buseck, he asked the district attorney for a criminal investigation into the matter on June 3.

Outside of the count for third-degree assault, no other charges are being considered at this time, according to the release.

A judge ordered the Police Department to release the bodycam footage no later than July 29.

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