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Police Commissioner doesn’t want to watch video of 95-year-old dementia patient being tasered in nursing home yet

Joe Harker

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| Last updated 

The commissioner of New South Wales Police said she hasn't yet watched the footage of an incident where her officers tasered a 95-year-old woman suffering from dementia.

Clare Nowland is now receiving end-of-life care in Cooma District Hospital after being tasered in a nursing home by police officers.

Officers responded to calls from Yallambee Lodge nursing home saying the 95-year-old woman was holding a knife while moving around with her walking frame.

Two police officers arrived at the nursing home and were not able to disarm the dementia patient before tasering her, she sustained injuries during the fall and was rushed to hospital as a result.

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Police have launched an investigation into the matter and bodycam footage from the officers will play a part in determining what happened during the tasering of the 95-year-old.

95-year-old woman Clare Nowland is in hospital receiving end of life care after being tasered by police. Credit: 7News
95-year-old woman Clare Nowland is in hospital receiving end of life care after being tasered by police. Credit: 7News

However, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb told 9News that she hadn't yet watched the bodycam footage and would not until all other evidence in the investigation had been collected.

Webb said she didn't want to watch the footage 'without context' and told Sydney radio 2GB that she wouldn't before she had all of the information available.

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She said: "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.

"It’s important that we follow a process. I will make my determination impartially."

The top cop said it was important to her that she saw the footage 'in the context of all the other statements and evidence' and did not say that she would never watch the footage at all.

Andrew Thaler, a spokesperson for Nowland's family, told the Daily Mail that the Commissioner had an 'obligation' to watch the bodycam footage.

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He said: "She can't hide, she has to stand up and take responsibility and ensure that the community and family get answers. The whole situation is so egregious."

New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb said she hadn't yet seen the footage of the 95-year-old being tasered. Credit: 9News
New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb said she hadn't yet seen the footage of the 95-year-old being tasered. Credit: 9News

Assistant commissioner Peter Cotter had previously said it would 'not be in the public interest to be releasing' the bodycam footage from the officers involved to the public.

He said that Nowland had been 'approaching police' when she was tasered 'but it is fair to say at a slow pace'.

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NSW Police are gathering statements and evidence as part of their internal investigation, and Webb has said she expects to receive reports from a taser expert within a couple of weeks.

The tasering of the 95-year-old dementia patient has sparked a debate over police powers and whether officers should be able to carry the weapons around.

A spokesperson for NSW Police said: "We understand NSW Police have declared a critical incident investigation and will take whatever action is appropriate.

"Our thoughts and best wishes are with Mrs Nowland and her family."

Topics: News, Australia, Crime

Joe Harker

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