COOMA, Australia – A 95-year-old woman is in critical condition after police used a Taser on her inside her nursing home.
Clare Nowland was using a walker and was holding a steak knife when a police officer in Cooma, Australia, shocked her, CNN reported.
He was called by the home’s staff for a resident with a knife.
Nowland was in a small treatment room alone when the police arrived. An officer told her to drop the knife, but she didn’t so he hit her with the Taser, The Washington Post reported.
She was approaching the officers at a slow pace, Peter Cotter, NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner said in a news briefing.
But he said, “I can’t take it any further as to what was going through anyone’s mind when he used the Taser.”
Not only is Nowland 95 years old, but she also is a great-grandmother who has dementia. She stands 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds, The Washington Post reported.
A friend of Nowland’s family said the woman was hit twice, once in the chest and once in the back, fell, fracturing her skull and suffering a serious brain bleed, BBC News reported.
Nowland’s family is keeping a bedside vigil, a local community advocate said.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a recovery. Tasers take out bulls and fully grown men. She’s a slip of a woman,” Andrew Thaler said, according to CNN.
The operators of the nursing home, Snowy Monaro Regional Council, said that the staff followed procedures and did what was needed considering the circumstances, The Daily Telegraph and The New York Times reported.
But the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties called the incident “outrageous overreach,” the Times reported.
Detectives are investigating the actions of the officer, who is a 12-year veteran and has been taken off duty, CNN reported.
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