Police officer who tasered 95-year-old woman in nursing home suspended from duty with pay

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By Kim Novak

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The police officer who tasered a 95-year-old woman in a nursing home leaving her on "end-of-life" care has been suspended from their duties with pay.

Police were called to Yallambee Lodge care home near Canberra in Australia at around 4:00 AM last Wednesday after staff found Clare Nowland, 95, wandering around with a steak knife.

The great-grandmother, who has dementia, was tasered by an officer after she began walking towards them with a knife in her hand, "at a slow pace" while using a walking frame.

After being tased, Nowland fell to the ground where she hit her head, leaving her in a critical condition, with her family reporting that she was on "end-of-life" care as a result. 

The incident caused widespread outrage from the public as well as community groups including the NSW Council for Civil Liberties and People with Disability Australia, with many calling the response of the police and staff disproportionate.

New South Wales (NSW) Police confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that the 33-year-old senior constable who had discharged the Taser had been suspended from their duties but would be paid.

Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Cotter addressed the incident on Friday, telling press: "She had a walking frame. But she had a knife."

Nowland is believed to have fractured her skull and suffered a serious brain bleed after hitting her head as she fell to the floor. She has been surrounded by family and friends as she receives end-of-life care in the wake of her injuries.

Family friend Andrew Thaler told the BBC: "The family are shocked, they're confused... and the community is outraged. How can this happen? How do you explain this level of force? It's absurd."

Many have called for better de-escalation training for the staff and police, believing that a Taser was excessive to use on the elderly 5 foot 2 woman, who weighs just 43kg (95lb).

The family released a statement, reading: "The Nowland family wishes to express our profound love and affection for our Mum, Nana and Great Grandmother Clare.

"Well respected, much loved and a giving member of her local community, Clare is the loving and gentle natured matriarch of the Nowland family.

"This is a most worrying and distressing time for our family and we are united in our support for Clare and for each other.

"We stand together. We thank everyone here in Cooma, the wider region and, in fact, the whole country and around the world for the outpouring of support for her and her ongoing battle with dementia- it touches so many.

"While we fully understand the interest of the media we kindly ask all media representatives to respect the family's - and Clare's - privacy at this very difficult time. Thank you to everyone."

An investigation into the incident is currently underway. Our thoughts remain with Nowland and her family.

Featured image credit: Björn Wylezich / Alamy

Police officer who tasered 95-year-old woman in nursing home suspended from duty with pay

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

The police officer who tasered a 95-year-old woman in a nursing home leaving her on "end-of-life" care has been suspended from their duties with pay.

Police were called to Yallambee Lodge care home near Canberra in Australia at around 4:00 AM last Wednesday after staff found Clare Nowland, 95, wandering around with a steak knife.

The great-grandmother, who has dementia, was tasered by an officer after she began walking towards them with a knife in her hand, "at a slow pace" while using a walking frame.

After being tased, Nowland fell to the ground where she hit her head, leaving her in a critical condition, with her family reporting that she was on "end-of-life" care as a result. 

The incident caused widespread outrage from the public as well as community groups including the NSW Council for Civil Liberties and People with Disability Australia, with many calling the response of the police and staff disproportionate.

New South Wales (NSW) Police confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that the 33-year-old senior constable who had discharged the Taser had been suspended from their duties but would be paid.

Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Cotter addressed the incident on Friday, telling press: "She had a walking frame. But she had a knife."

Nowland is believed to have fractured her skull and suffered a serious brain bleed after hitting her head as she fell to the floor. She has been surrounded by family and friends as she receives end-of-life care in the wake of her injuries.

Family friend Andrew Thaler told the BBC: "The family are shocked, they're confused... and the community is outraged. How can this happen? How do you explain this level of force? It's absurd."

Many have called for better de-escalation training for the staff and police, believing that a Taser was excessive to use on the elderly 5 foot 2 woman, who weighs just 43kg (95lb).

The family released a statement, reading: "The Nowland family wishes to express our profound love and affection for our Mum, Nana and Great Grandmother Clare.

"Well respected, much loved and a giving member of her local community, Clare is the loving and gentle natured matriarch of the Nowland family.

"This is a most worrying and distressing time for our family and we are united in our support for Clare and for each other.

"We stand together. We thank everyone here in Cooma, the wider region and, in fact, the whole country and around the world for the outpouring of support for her and her ongoing battle with dementia- it touches so many.

"While we fully understand the interest of the media we kindly ask all media representatives to respect the family's - and Clare's - privacy at this very difficult time. Thank you to everyone."

An investigation into the incident is currently underway. Our thoughts remain with Nowland and her family.

Featured image credit: Björn Wylezich / Alamy