Cops have defended tasering an 87-year-old woman who was picking flowers.
Martha Al-Bishara was hit with tasers by police in the US state of Georgia last week while she was out picking dandelions at a Boys and Girls Club, The Daily Citizen-News reports.
A staff member called police telling them she had a “Muslim hat-looking thing”, wouldn’t leave and was using something to cut vegetation.
Chatsworth Police said Ms Al-Bishara had a knife on her.
Thee officers arrived and ordered her to drop the knife. When she didn’t, they tasered her.
She was later released, but her family are furious with how the matter was handled. They claim Ms Al-Bishara doesn’t speak English.
Her grandson, Timothy Douhne, 24, told ABC News what happened “is absolutely ridiculous”.
He added his grandmother told him she tried smiling at police to indicate she wasn’t a threat, and moved in to reinforce it but they tasered her.
But police chief Josh Etheridge has defended the tasering and believes the octogenarian should have complied with officers’s orders even though she doesn’t speak English.
“In my opinion, it was the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time,” he said.
“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.”
Ms Al-Bishara moved to the US about 20 years ago from Syria, has nine grandchildren and speaks mostly Arabic, Mr Douhne said. She was picking dandelions to add to a dish she was making for dinner and lives across the street from where she was tasered.
The woman’s great-nephew, Solomon Douhne, a former police officer, said Ms Al-Bishara was not a threat and was confused about the turn of events.
“If three police officers couldn’t handle an 87-year-old woman, you might want to reconsider hanging up your badge,” Mr Douhne said.
Her grandson said the family are considering legal action.
There are charges pending against Ms Al-Bishara.