City Hub: 95 year-old woman left in critical condition after NSW Police tasered her

A 95 year-old woman has been left in a critical condition after she was allegedly tasered by police at a regional aged care facility, City Hub's Tileah Dobson reports. 

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Clare Nowland was wandering Yallambee Lodge in Cooma prompting a call to the police. After an altercation, it was reported that police resulted to tasering Nowland after struggling to disarm her. An investigation into the matter has now been launched by the police, and that a “critical incident team will now investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Josh Pallas has begun calling on the police to cease the use of tasers on vulnerable people “who are experiencing dementia or a mental health crisis.”

“Surely, there must be more appropriate ways to deal with noncompliant people who are suffering,” he said. “In this instance we have a 95 year-old woman with dementia. Police overreach and disproportionality are common themes we see repeating over multiple incidents in NSW.”

“Yet again, I reiterate that the problem with tasers is that there is misunderstanding about their potential lethality; a clear lack of training leading to inappropriate policing with tragic outcomes for families and communities across NSW.”

Pallas has also voiced his support for an independent inquiry into NSW Police, stating that “police should never investigate police.”

“It’s difficult to imagine any circumstances where a frail 95 year old woman poses a credible threat to anyone – let alone two police officers,” he said.

“The NSW Ombudsman and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission should initiate an inquiry into this because it transcends issues of police powers with mental health and ageing.”

“We need to ensure that no matter what the circumstances of this case that our elderly nursing home residents are protected. That includes protection from excessive police force.”

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