Police shoot man with Taser in Bellingham

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Police say a man charged at an officer Friday afternoon before he was shot with a Taser in the Birchwood neighborhood of Bellingham.

A witness called 911 around 12:40 p.m. to report a man screaming, walking in the street, hugging telephone poles, tearing up mail, and generally acting odd on the 2900 block of Cottonwood Avenue.

An officer arrived and tried to talk with the man, without success. At one point the man charged at the officer, and the officer fired a Taser at him to avoid being assaulted, Lt. Don Almer said.

The man would not stay on the ground, Almer said, so the electrical charge was reactivated once. Moments later another officer reached the scene to help detain the man.

Paramedics found the man had no injuries, except for Taser prongs. Nonetheless, he was taken to St. Joseph hospital to be checked. Police do not plan to charge the man. His name and age were not released.

“Our officers believe this is more of a mental health issue than a criminal issue,” Almer said.

In October police used a Taser to detain a man covered in blood, acting erratically and fighting with officers on Ellis Street. That case, too, was treated as a medical problem, not a criminal one.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb