An 87-year-old grandmother who was using a knife to cut dandelions in the woods near her home in Georgia was tasered and arrested, according to a police report.
Martha Al-Bishara was cutting dandelions outside a local Boys and Girls Club nearby her home in Chatsworth to use in a salad, her family shared. A concerned employee from the club called the police on her for walking around the property with a knife.
CNN reports that two Chatsworth officers along with Police Chief Josh Etheridge arrived at the scene and repeatedly asked Al-Bishara to drop the knife, “Her demeanor was calm, even when we had our guns out,” an officer noted in the police report. It was said that Al-Bishara does not speak English. However, officers reportedly made hand gestures to indicate dropping a knife, but she still did not comply.
Al-Bishara, who was probably confused, began to walk toward the group and did not react when one of the officers turned on his Taser, according to the report.
“The female did not react to the Taser being on, or the white light coming from the end of the Taser,” the reporting officer noted.
When she continued to walk towards them, the officer fired off his Taser and struck her in the chest. However, they did help her to her feet and placed her in handcuffs.
Law enforcement officials say the woman, Martha Al-Bishara, should have followed orders.
“An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer,” Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge told the Daily Citizen-News of Dalton.
Al-Bishara’s family members said officers should have been more patient.
“You don’t Tase an 87-year-old woman,” great-nephew Solomon Douhne, who is a former Dalton Police officer told the Daily Citizen-News. “She was not a threat. If anything, she was confused and didn’t know what was going on.”
The elderly woman is stable but shaken up by the incident, her family said. The police department will undergo an internal use-of-force review, according to Etheridge.
Photo Credit: Smithsonian Magazine