Man in hospital after Taser used

A man was in critical condition Tuesday after a Hickory police officer shocked him with a Taser stun gun while trying to arrest him.

Officer Lance Bean spotted a man walking along South Center Street on Monday afternoon and recognized him as a suspect with an outstanding warrant, said Hickory Police Capt. Clyde Deal. The man fled when Bean approached to arrest him, Deal said.

As Bean chased the man through a neighborhood, he warned he would Taser the man if he didn't stop, but the man kept running, Deal said.

Bean shocked the man and when he didn't stop, he shocked him a second time, Deal said. The man fell to the ground, hitting his head on a landscaping timber.

Bean called for an ambulance and arrested Michael Douglas Connor, 25, who was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition Tuesday night.

Deal said the department is reviewing the use of force but hadn't placed Bean on leave because department policy doesn't call for that in the use of Tasers and other “soft, intermediate weapons,” a category that also includes batons, pepper spray and handcuffs.

Taser use has been under scrutiny in the Charlotte region after two deaths this year. Last month, a suspect at the Iredell County jail died after being shocked with a Taser. In March, a teenager died after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shocked him.

Deal wouldn't speculate on whether Connor's condition resulted from the Taser shockings or from hitting his head. Hospital officials wouldn't say, either, citing patient privacy law.

Deal did say that with Taser use, “most of the time you don't have any type of serious injury.”

Studies show that multiple Taser shocks could increase risk of serious injury, findings that have moved some law enforcement agencies to limit the number of times and length of time officers can shock people.

Observer archives contributed.