The incident occurred in Yallambee lodge, a care home located in Cooma, NSW. NSW police were responding to reports of a 95-year-old woman named Clare Nowland carrying a knife.
Attempting to address the situation, two police officers and care home staff made efforts to de-escalate the encounter with Nowland. However, despite her slow approach with the aid of a walking frame, she was tasered.
What is a Taser?
Tasers, also known as Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs), are non-lethal weapons that police officers use to subdue a person.
They work by delivering an electrical shock to the body, causing temporary muscle paralysis and incapacitation.
In New South Wales (NSW), police officers have the authority to use Tasers in certain circumstances.
Family devastated as 95-year-old suffers life-threatening injuries
Tragically, the use of the Taser with Mrs Nowland resulted in severe and life-threatening injuries. With a fractured skull and significant brain bleed, she was rushed to the hospital, leaving her family and friends fearing for the worst. The incident has raised questions about the level of force used by law enforcement officers and the duty of care owed to vulnerable individuals.
Investigation into use of tasers launched
An investigation into the incident is now being conducted by the homicide squad and Professional Standards Comimittee of NSW Police.
However NSW government refuses to release footage. Tresurer, Daniel Mookhey stating that the investigation is currently being overseen by Law Enfrocement Conduct Commission (LECC).
The officer responsible for deploying the Taser has been taken off active duty.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is also conducting a separate investigation.
Authorised use of Tasers in NSW under scrutiny
As the incident raises questions about the use of Tasers, the authorised circumstances under which police officers can can use these weapons are questioned. Under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) officers have the authority to use Tasers in specific situations.
Some examples include:
- Self-defence: Police officers can use Tasers if they believe that they or another person are in imminent danger of serious bodily harm and the use of force is necessary to protect themselves or others.
- Control of a dangerous or violent person: Police officers can use Tasers to control a person who is acting in a dangerous or violent manner. This is if they believe that the use of force is necessary and proportionate.
- Mitigating risk: A police officer can use Tasers if they believe it is necessary to mitigate the risk of harm to themselves or others. This includes situations where an individual behaves erratically or poses a risk to their own safety or the safety of others.
- Prevention of escape: A police officer can use Tasers if they believe it is necessary to prevent an individual from escaping lawful custody. This includes situations where an individual is attempting to flee from the police or resist arrest.