PC tells of Taser blast agony in arrest struggle
A BRISTOL police officer has told how he received a Taser shock from a colleague while they were arresting a violent criminal.
PC Jason Vernon was stunned by the 50,000-volt Taser as its charge was conducted through the body of an offender that he was restraining.
The extraordinary incident took place on January 3 this year.
Offender Nicki Burgess was sent to prison last week.
The two officers, who battled Burgess to the ground before both receiving electric shocks, were given commendations for bravery by a judge in the case, while Burgess was sent to prison for almost two years.
PC Vernon, who is based at Trinity Road Police Station, had gone to Burgess' home address in Summerhill Road, St George's, after reports that he had brandished a knife and threatened to kill his friend, Christopher Stokes.
PC Vernon arrived alongside officers armed with Taser weapons.
The 41-year-old officer told the Post that as they approached the house he saw a figure and then the lights went off. He said: "Nicki Burgess swung the door open and for a few seconds he was stood in the kitchen with the light off and we couldn't see him.
"He was shouting obscenities at us. PC Graeme Hall was shouting too and we moved forward. We could hardly see anything.
"It all happened so quickly," PC Vernon said
He said: "There was some sort of altercation. The next thing I knew, Burgess was on top of PC Hall assaulting him and punching him.
"I remember PC Hall shouting, get him off me, get him off. I started to use my asp and as I was on top of him, the other firearms officer fired the taser.
"It felt awful. I have never experienced anything quite like it before. I couldn't do anything. I couldn't even let go. For several hours after I didn't feel right. It was a really uncomfortable feeling."
PC Vernon said he heard PC Hall shouting "no more Taser" as he struggled with the pain.
At a court last week, the judge heard that PC Hall felt his muscles contract as the Taser was deployed at Burgess.
PC Hall was left unconscious on the floor with an injury to his head, the court was told.
According to statements it took three shots from PC Vernon's Taser gun to subdue Burgess, who was also left with head wounds from the struggle.
PC Vernon told the Post: "What I recall is Mr Burgess continuing to lay in the punches."
The judge attributed Burgess' resilience to the amount of drugs he had taken.
PC Vernon said that when he met Burgess, after being discharged from hospital, Burgess recalled nothing of the incident.
The victim, who had called the police after being threatened with a knife, described Burgess as being "off his head".
Burgess pleaded guilty to affray and assault at Bristol Crown Court on Friday, May 18.
Judge Julian Lambert told Burgess: "You are now 24 years old and have 16 previous convictions, including some for violence. But nothing anywhere compares to the seriousness of what you did that day."
He added: "The police who approached you had to endure a persistent attack and you were able to resist a Taser because of the drugs you had taken."
Judge Lambert sentenced Burgess to 23 months in prison to be served concurrently with the breach of an eight-week suspended sentence for theft.
The judge also recognised the bravery of the officers who arrested Burgess.
He said: "Two officers bore the brunt and were subject to extreme violence. These officers persisted in the face of adversity.
"They deserve the admiration of this court and they have the commendation of this court." He added: "They are a fine example to others."
PC Vernon said: "I thoroughly enjoy my job and it's something I have always wanted to do.
"I have called for armed back-up several times and I would have no hesitation to do it again in the future.
"PC Hall and I have spoken since what happened and he personally thanked me."