Great-Grandmother, 95, in Critical Condition After Being Tasered by Police in Australia
Clare Nowland was allegedly armed with a steak knife when New South Wales police were called to her nursing home earlier this week, authorities say
A 95-year-old great-grandmother is in critical condition after she was tasered by police in Australia, authorities said.
New South Wales police were called to the Yallambee Lodge nursing home early Wednesday morning in Cooma, about 200 miles southwest of Sydney, where they found Clare Nowland allegedly armed with a steak knife, according to Reuters.
Once at the nursing home, first responders tried to get Nowland, who suffers from dementia, to drop the knife, but she would not agree, NSW police assistant commissioner Peter Cotter said in a news conference.
"At the time she was tasered, she was approaching police, but it is fair to say at a slow pace," Cotter said. "She had a walking frame, but she had a knife."
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As Nowland walked with the knife, an officer then discharged the taser, which caused the woman to fall and hit her head, Cotter said.
"The injury that she suffered as a result of hitting her head on the floor has rendered her bedridden at the moment," he continued. "She remains in and out of consciousness."
While family members convene at her bedside, police are investigating the circumstances of the incident, which was recorded by an officer's body camera.
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Cotter said the footage will not be released due to the ongoing investigation, but noted that the officer involved has been placed off duty pending a "level 1 critical incident investigation." The department's homicide squad is also involved in the investigation, he said.
The suspended officer has been identified as a senior constable with 12 years of experience on the force, according to CNN.
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The incident has sparked outrage in the community, as loved ones and others seek to make sense of what happened.
Nowland was known to the community as a once-vigorous woman who went skydiving on her 80th and 85th birthdays, but in recent years has become increasingly weak, family friend Andrew Thaler told CNN.
He shared with the outlet that her prognosis now is grim. "I don't think there's going to be a recovery," Thaler said. "Tasers take out bulls and fully grown men. She's a slip of a woman."
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