Police officer who Tasered 95-year-old woman at Australian care home suspended

Clare Nowland   (.)
Clare Nowland (.)

A police officer who tasered a 95-year-old woman at a care home in Australia has been suspended from duty.

Clare Nowland, who has dementia, hit her head on the floor in the incident in Cooma, New South Wales, last Wednesday, which has prompted outrage and an internal investigation.

Ms Nowland was tasered by police as she approached them using a walking frame and carrying a steak knife.

Police confirmed the suspension of the officer on Tuesday morning but could not say how long the 33-year-old senior constable, who had 12 years of experience, will be suspended.

Officers ruled out releasing the bodycam footage publicly. Police commissioner Karen Webb said Ms Nowland’s family did not want the footage released.

Yasmin Catley, the police minister, said the investigation into the incident is being run by “some of the best detectives we have in this state”.

“Politicising this matter is not going to be of any assistance,” she added. “We must remember the family here and remember that there is an investigation under way.”

In a public statement, Ms Nowland’s family said they were grateful for the outpouring of support from around the world, but appealed for privacy amid a “worrying and distressing time”.

“Well respected, much loved and a giving member of her local community, Clare is the loving and gentle-natured matriarch of the Nowland family,” the statement said.

Police said Mrs Nowland received her critical injuries from striking her head on the floor, rather than directly from the Taser’s debilitating electric shock.

Community advocate Andrew Thaler told Daily Mail Australia that Mrs Nowland was now receiving end of life care in hospital. Her family had gathered around her in the expectation that she did not have long to live, he said.