Australia was shaken a week ago by the intervention of a police officer who used a stun gun on 95-year-old Clare Nowland in a nursing home. The pensioner died a week later, and the policeman was charged with assault and causing injury.
Police in the Australian state of New South Wales said Clare Nowland, 18, died “peacefully, surrounded by family and loved ones” in hospital. The 95-year-old had 24 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren, reports the French news agency AFP.
“She was a respected and loved member of the local community and the loving and gentle matriarch of the Nowland family,“her family announced, asking for privacy after her death.
Clare Nowland has been in a critical condition since the incident a week ago, when a 33-year-old police officer used a taser on her. The police were called from a nursing home in Cooma because a 95-year-old woman “wandering around the home with a kitchen knife“, reports the BBC. The policeman’s intervention sparked outrage and calls for police reform in Australia.
Just hours before her death, police officer Kristian White, who used a taser, was charged with grievous bodily harm and assault. The police officer was suspended after the incident, and will appear in court on July 5.
Police said after the incident last week that the pensioner was “armed with a knife” during the intervention, but refused to release the officer’s body camera footage. On Friday, they then admitted that the 95-year-old woman was using a walker and was “approaching the police officers slowly”. The pensioner fell after the intervention with the stun gun, and according to unofficial information, she suffered a skull fracture and brain bleeding.
“The stun gun action against Ms Nowland has sparked outrage in our community which shows how urgently we need police reform,” said Sue Higginson, New South Wales Green Party Member of Parliament. She added that the police should be “better equipped” for dealing with patients with dementia.