87-Year-Old Grandmother Tasered by Cops While Gardening: Police Chief Defends
Martha Al-Bishara snipping dandelions for a salad - attacked by police
An 87-year-old grandmother, who was pruning dandelions in the woods at the rear of her rural Georgia home last week, was tasered and arrested by cops, according to a police report.
The report states that Martha Al-Bishara was arrested for criminal trespass and obstruction of a police officer while she was cutting flowers to make a salad.
Chatsworth Police said Al-Bishara did not drop a steak knife despite several commands and a demonstration by officers.
Police claim that, at one point, she walked toward officers with the knife.
Police had gone to a wooded area near a Boys and Girls Club last Friday after an employee called 911 to report that an elderly woman was walking around with a knife in the community, around 80 miles north of Atlanta.
"She's old so she can't get around too well, but ... " the employee said on the 911 recording, according to Fox News.
"Looks like she's walking around looking for something, like, vegetation to cut down or something.
"There's a bag, too."
"She told me she doesn't speak English, and she's walking up the trail with a knife towards me," the caller said.
The caller also said she did not appear to be a threat but a major communication breakdown occurred.
"But she came at you with a knife, though, right?" the dispatcher asked.
"No," the caller said, "she just brought the knife onto the property in her hand, she didn't try and attack anybody or anything."
Daily Wire reports: Two Chatsworth officers and Police Chief Josh Etheridge headed to the scene.
According to their police report, they repeatedly asked Al-Bishara to drop the knife.
"Her demeanor was calm, even when we had our guns out," an officer noted in the police report.
Al-Bishara walked toward the police, and when she was about five yards away, one officer fired his Taser and struck her in the chest.
Officers then picked her up and placed her in handcuffs.
Etheridge told WTVC that police used the "lowest use of force" they could.
"An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer," he said.
"In my opinion, it was the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time."
Etheridge says Al-Bishara ignored orders to drop the knife.
But her family members say she was simply snipping dandelions, and a daughter-in-law says she has dementia and only speaks Arabic.
"If three police officers couldn't handle an 87-year-old woman, you might want to reconsider hanging up your badge," said Solomon Douhne, the woman's great-nephew.
Al-Bishara was charged with one count of criminal trespass and a second count of obstructing an officer.
She was released later that day.