In an Australian nursing home~, police stunned a 95-year-old lady with a stun gun as she approached them with a steak knife and a walking frame, sending her to the hospital. An internal police probe at the highest level has been sparked by the unprecedented police operation to subdue dementia sufferer Clare Nowland on Wednesday. On Friday, Nowland’s health was critical.
It has also aroused discussion over the way the New South Wales state police employ stun weapons, popularly referred to as “Tasers” after a significant manufacturer. Despite being less lethal than firearms, they have occasionally proven to be riskier than other policing measures. Following the incident, two police officers visited Yallambee Lodge, a Cooma nursing facility that focuses on patients with more complex care requirements, such as dementia.
A steak knife with serrations was reported missing from the kitchen by personnel. When a 12-year veteran police officer used a stun gun on an old woman who is 1.57 meters (5 feet, 2 inches) tall and weighs 43 kilos (95 pounds), police assistant commissioner Peter Cotter declined to indicate if he believed that the use of force was excessive. According to Cotter, the old woman and the police engaged in “negotiations” for a while before the elderly woman walked up to the doorway where the officers were stationed and was shocked.
“When she was tasered, she was moving toward the police. But it’s fair to argue that it moves slowly. She was walking with a frame. However, she had a knife. I am unable to continue because to what anyone’s thoughts were, Cotter informed the media. The assault startled Nicole Lee, head of the advocacy group People with Disability Australia, she said. “She’s either one hell of an agile, fit, fast, and intimidating 95-year-old woman, or there’s a very poor lack of judgement on those police officers, and there really needs to be some accountability on their side,” said Lee.
According to the police, Nowland’s critical injuries were from hitting her head on the ground rather than from the incapacitating electric shock from the Taser. Cotter called the body camera footage of Nowland being shot from the two police officers “confronting footage.” But he asserted that the footage was related to a police internal inquiry and that it “would not be made public interest in disseminating that.” The police officer who used the stun gun, according to Cotter, is presently “not in the workplace,” however it is unknown if the officer has been disciplined. Great-grandmother Nowland garnered media attention in 2008 when she skydived to commemorate turning 80.
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