SYDNEY: A state police chief in Australia said Saturday that police will not share bodycam footage of an officer tasering a 95-year-old great-grandmother with dementia inside her nursing home.

Clare Nowland is in critical condition in hospital, three days after being shot with an electronic stun gun in an incident that stunned Australians and made international headlines.

Officers responded at Yallambee Lodge in southern New South Wales on Wednesday after nursing home workers reported that a lady was “armed with a knife,” according to police.
Police said they requested Nowland to drop the serrated steak knife before she approached them “at a slow pace” with the use of a walking frame, causing one officer to use his taser on her.

When asked about political calls for the release of police body-worn video of the tasering, New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb responded, “I am not sure why they want to see it.”

“I don’t see it necessary that I actually view it,” the state police head stated during a press briefing.

Webb added, citing “legislative requirements” about surveillance devices, “We don’t intend to release it unless there is a process at the end of this that would allow it to be released.”
An investigation into the taser discharge “will take time,” she said.
Webb vowed that the investigation would follow “proper procedure.”

After spending time with Nowland’s family in the hospital on Friday, Webb said the future for Nowland, who has 24 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren, is uncertain.
“The next few days will be critical and, you know, it’s likely to be very difficult for the family, and my condolences and thoughts are with the family at the moment,” the police chief said, adding that the family is looking for answers.

She added that police will “deal with the facts and not speculate” to avoid jeopardizing their probe.

Webb said it was “quite rare” for police to be called to a nursing home, and that officers might need to be “better equipped” to deal with dementia patients.
Green Party state senator David Shoebridge urged that police share the body-worn video images.

“My reaction, like that of millions of other Australians, is shock and disbelief.” “How can tasering a 95-year-old woman with dementia in a walking frame in a nursing home be considered a reasonable use of force?”

Shoebridge said he was joining his colleagues in New South Wales in making a “very clear demand” for the state police and administration to obtain the family’s permission before releasing the bodycam film.

“The public has a right to know what the police did, and this cannot be hidden in a private investigation by police investigating police,” he said.




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