Grandmother, 87, Tasered by cops while ‘cutting dandelion leaves with knife’
A grandmother was Tasered by police after being spotted cutting dandelion leaves with a steak knife.
The 87-year-old Syrian immigrant refused to drop the knife after being approached by officers in Georgia, according to police.
Officers found Martha al-Bishara at the bottom of a hill in Chatsworth following a 911 call reporting a woman with a knife.
Police officer Steven Marshall deployed a Taser. He later claimed the elderly woman, who speaks Arabic, ignored several orders to drop the knife before walking towards him.
Al-Bishara, who is 5ft 2in, was charged with criminal trespass and obstructing an officer.
Some of her family members believe Officer Marshall could have resolved the problem without violence.
Her grandson, 24-year-old medical student Timothy Douhne, called the incident “absolutely ridiculous”.
He told ABC News: "She told us she was smiling at them to tell them that she wasn’t a threat… and she was trying to get closer to them to communicate with them, and that’s when they Tasered her."
"She thought she got shot," Mr Douhne told NBC.
Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge defended any wrongdoing and said the officer had little choice but to use a Taser on al-Bishara when she failed to obey numerous orders.
"She came walking toward the officer. After multiple commands, he told her to stop several times. She continued walking at which time we deployed the Taser," he said in a video statement to the Daily Citizen News of Dalton, Georgia.
Mr Etheridge added: "An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer."
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He said the Taser was deployed "rather than using deadly force to stop the situation".
Ms al Bishara was put in handcuffs and arrested.
The officer who Tasered her remains on duty, and the force is reviewing the situation, Mr Etheridge said.
Al-Bishara is due to appear in court on September 19.
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