Family Friends Speak Out After Elderly Man Is Tased By Police

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- Family friends of Harold Marlin are speaking out after he was tased by Springdale Police, after officers said he did not comply with an order to put a knife down.

According to his friends, Marlin, has a severe case of Alzheimer's disease.  Prior to the tasing, friends said Marlin was confused as he was trying to return home, thinking his neighbor's home was his own.

Video of the argument between Marlin and his neighbors before police arrived shows the 81-year-old arguing with several men. In the video, the neighbors tell him to go back to his house. Marlin replies back, "This is my property."

According to the police report, Marlin was holding a knife when officers arrived and asked him to drop it.

Police said Marlin then went inside his home. Officers ordered him to return outside and to drop the knife again.

Marlin opened the door, but did not comply and that is when an officer tased him.

"With him, he always eats apples and has a little carving knife, which is a little bitty thing," Alan Clark, a family friend said.

Clark still has the shirt Marlin was wearing when he was tased. Blood stains are left on the back of it and on the sleeves.

"The taser shot him in the back, so he wasn't opposing threat," Clark said.

Those closest to Marlin said the police report doesn't tell the full story. They describe Marlin as a loving man who wouldn't hurt anyone.

"The video clearly shows that he was saying, 'this is my house,' and he was defending it," Clark said. "His elderly wife was inside that he was trying to protect. He's so kind. Him and his wife would go to church and all they really wanted to do was sing praises to the church. This is the people we're dealing with; we're talking about the old, American grandma and grandpa."

Now Marlin's friends are hoping for change, asking that officers are better equipped to handle incidents with the elderly.

"We're wanting to get an awareness out there to get all police department all over the country to get the proper trainers in order, so they can actually come to certain scenes to prevent elderly from getting shot or tased or tackled," Clark said.

5NEWS reached out to the Springdale Police Department and they declined to comment until the investigation is completed.

Marlin had been treated and released from the hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Marlin's friends said they are hoping to get him the help he needs soon.

Police said Marlin is facing two felony counts of aggravated assault, fleeing and criminal trespassing.

He has hearing set for Nov. 15 in Washington County Circuit Court.