GA Officer Tases Woman, 87, Cutting Dandelions With Knife

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When Martha Al-Bishara, 87, went on a walk near her home in Chatsworth, Ga., on Aug. 10,  she was on a quest for dandelions. The stroll would end in her getting stunned by a Taser and arrested by police officers, reports the Washington Post. Al-Bishara often ventured outside with a kitchen knife and a plastic bag in hand to cut and collect the plants for cooking. A man called 911, and police found her on a hill holding a “a white plastic bag in her left hand and a steak knife in her right hand.”

It was unclear if the officers realized Al-Bishara did not speak English but when she did not respond to multiple verbal requests to put down her knife, one officer shot his Taser, striking Al-Bishara in the chest and sending her to the ground. She was charged with obstruction of an officer and criminal trespassing. Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge, who was at the scene, defended his officers’ use of force. “In my opinion, it was the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time,” Etheridge told the Daily Citizen-News. “And I know everyone is going to say, ‘An 87-year-old woman? How big a threat can she be?’ She still had a knife. … An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer.”

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