An 87-year-old Chatsworth, Georgia woman was tased by police as she was cutting dandelions outside a Boys and Girls Club across the street from her home.
WSB-TV reported that police received a 911 call to report Martha al-Bishara, who had a knife, but the caller said the woman was not a threat.
Chatsworth police said officers ordered Bishara to drop the knife and then tased her.
She was taken to the hospital after the attack but has returned home.
“She’s recovering, you know. Still a little sore from what she’s gone through,” nephew Solomon Douhne said.
Friday afternoon, Bishara wanted some dandelions for her salad, so she walked across the street from her house to cut some from the Boys and Girls club.
“She just brought the knife onto the property in her hand. She didn’t try to attack anybody or anything,” Douhne said.
Someone called 911 when they saw the woman with a knife.
“She’s so old, she can’t get around too well,” the caller told the dispatcher. “Looks like she’s walking around looking for something, like, vegetation to cut down or something. There’s a bag, too.”
Bishara, who does not speak English, was ordered by police to drop her tool. Police say she did not drop it and moved toward them. They were apparently terrified of an 87-year-old woman looking for dandelions, so they attacked her with a taser.
“She really didn’t know what was going on or why they were there. She had no clue what to expect,” Douhne said.
Douhne, a former Dalton police officer, says he believes police followed procedure when attacking his aunt, but he would have preferred they used common sense.
“Less-lethal force is the practice that we normally (follow), but in this case, you know, if you could tell the communication wasn’t working, she was not posing a threat, give it time, let it play out,” Douhne said. “If three police officers couldn’t handle an 87-year-old woman, you might want to reconsider hanging up your badge.”
Bishara is charged with trespassing and obstruction.
The Chatsworth police chief Josh Etheridge defended the abusive behavior of his officers. “In my opinion, it was the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time.”