People outraged by gran's tasering: former cop minister
The tasering of a 95-year-old grandmother in a nursing home in NSW's central south has shocked the community, and a transparent investigation is urgently needed, a former police minister says.
Clare Nowland was using a walking frame when she was hit with a police Taser at Yallambee Lodge aged care facility in Cooma on Wednesday, after allegedly failing to drop a steak knife.
The dementia patient and mother of eight is now receiving end-of-life care in Cooma District Hospital, having been critically injured after falling and hitting her head when she was tasered.
"This is a confronting situation for everyone involved, and the Police Minister (Yasmin Catley) needs to provide confidence to the public and to the police," opposition spokesman for police Paul Toole said on Monday.
"The incident has raised serious concerns and ignited public outrage, emphasising the critical need for accountability and clarity," the former police minister said.
An investigation is being led by the homicide squad and the Professional Standards Committee of NSW Police, and overseen by the independent Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC).
Concerns over Mrs Nowland's case were shared by the police minister, who had been in contact with the grandmother's family in recent days.
Many details about Mrs Nowland's tasering had already been made public by police and the minister, a spokesman for Ms Catley told AAP.
"When there are more details that are appropriate to share, we will share them."
The officer's body-worn camera would form part of the investigation, however Police Commissioner Karen Webb does not plan on watching the footage before all other statements and evidence are collated.
"It may be the case in the future where I have to make a determination based on a brief of evidence, without being tainted by having seen a part of the brief without context," Ms Webb told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.
"It's important that we follow a process."
Police had used excessive use of force and it was "extraordinary" that officers were called to the nursing home at all, Federal Greens MP David Shoebridge said on Monday.
"It's extraordinary that a 95-year-old woman ... who was obviously in distress, and obviously needed assistance instead had police turn up to her nursing home, apparently Taser her twice, see her fall to the ground and be hospitalised," he said.
"That is such a grossly unreasonable use of force."
While acknowledging significant concern in the community, Premier Chris Minns said he remained confident police and the LECC could carry out a fair investigation.
"At this point in the investigation, it is important to let the work take place," the premier told reporters on Monday.
"They need to collect evidence, they need to take statements. They'll have more to say in the coming days."
Dementia Support Australia's Steve Macfarlane called for more training for aged care workers, saying things shouldn't have escalated to the point where police were called.
"Aged care staff really need to have the skills to de-escalate these sort of situations themselves," he told ABC TV.
There is no mandatory training required for aged care workers on dealing with dementia patients.