A 95-year-old great-grandmother whom police allegedly tasered earlier in May died Wednesday in an Australian hospital, officials have stated.
Clare Nowland passed away May 24, approximately one week after law enforcement officials allegedly tasered her inside a New South Wales nursing home after she was found wandering around the facility with a knife, CBS News reported. Responding officials urged Nowland, who reportedly suffered from dementia, to drop the serrated knife, but she began moving towards them “at a slow place” with a walker, according to the outlet.
“That’s somehow resulted in the police tasering this woman twice, once in front of her chest, and once in the back, then she’s fallen and struck her head,” family spokesman Andrew Thaler told The Guardian after the reported incident.
The fall allegedly fractured Nowland’s skull, resulting in a brain bleed, the outlet stated.
Clare Nowland: 95-year-old woman dies after allegedly being Tasered by NSW police https://t.co/unbaVIiVHJ
— The Guardian (@guardian) May 24, 2023
“The use of a taser when a kind word was all she needed, if she was confused — which is what happens with people who have dementia — she needed kind words and assistance and help,” Thaler continued, according to CBS News. “She didn’t need the force of the law, as it were.”
The incident has sparked outrage throughout New South Wales (NSW), leading politicians to demand reforms in law enforcement procedures. “The refusal to release the bodycam footage protects NSW Police from public scrutiny for all the wrong reasons — the NSW community has a right to know exactly what happened when Clare Nowland was tasered so we can start to take the steps needed for change,” Greens Party state legislator Sue Higginson stated, according to CBS News. (RELATED: Horrific Bodycam Footage Shows Moment Suspect Is Engulfed In Flames After Officer Allegedly Whips Out Taser At Gas Station)
Josh Pallas, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, echoed Higginson’s plea, slamming what he viewed as an “overreach” by law enforcement officials. “Police overreach and disproportionality are common themes we see repeating over multiple incidents in NSW,” Pallas told The Guardian. “Surely, there must be more appropriate ways to deal with noncompliant people who are suffering.”
Senior constable Kristian White, 33, is facing three counts of assault for allegedly tasing Nowland, according to a separate report from The Guardian. Charges currently include recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault, the police said in a statement, according to CBS News.