Police have halted calls to release bodycam footage of 95-year-old great-grandmother Clare Nowland’s Tasering, as NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb told reporters it was ‘not necessary’ for her to see the disturbing vision.
Ms Nowland, a dementia sufferer, was tasered by the senior constable at 4am on Wednesday as she slowly approached a team of officers ‘armed’ with a steak knife at Yallambee Lodge retirement home near Cooma, in the NSW Snowy Mountains.
At a press conference on Saturday, Commissioner Karen Webb said she has no intention of releasing the vision or even seeing it for herself.
‘I don’t really intend to, no. I’ve heard what is carried in the body, and I don’t think it’s necessary for me to actually look at it.’ she said.
“First of all, I’m not sure why they (the public) would want to see it, but also body-worn video is subject to legal requirements around surveillance equipment and other things, so it’s not routine and we don’t plan to release it. to give. , unless there is a process at the end of this that allows it to be released.’
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb (pictured) has made a bold statement that she believes it is ‘necessary’ to review bodycam footage of the moment Clare Nowland, 95, was tasered on Wednesday
Ms Nowland (pictured), a dementia sufferer, was tasered by the senior constable at 4am on Wednesday as she slowly approached a team of officers ‘armed’ with a steak knife at the Yallambee Lodge retirement home near Cooma, in the NSW Snowy Mountains
Greens spokesman David Shoebridge had criticized the handling of the incident and said the bodycam vision would be released if necessary Mrs. Nowland’s family agreed.
“There must be an urgent and public review of this incident by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) which, after consultation with the family, includes the release of the Taser video,” he said.
“Tasers are a potentially lethal weapon and should be treated as such, but all too often when the system sends the police that is what they reach for.
“The structural failure here is sending police to the incident when an emergency mental health team should have been available to de-escalate and treat an elderly woman in distress.”
Police officers were called to the nursing home (pictured) after being told she had a kitchen knife. Ms Nowland was tasered while standing next to her walker
Mrs. Nowland’s family has gathered around her in the expectation that she will not have long to live.
Commissioner Webb spent time with the family on Friday and said she valued their well-being over the media. She had been criticized for sending her deputy, Peter Cotter, on Friday to handle the media scrutiny.
“Well, first of all, it is urgent that the family be notified first, and that was respectful to the family,” she said.
“They have a big family that’s scattered all over New South Wales and other places, and that took a while, and then we had to wait for the investigators in Cooma to get there, and those investigators came from Sydney, and we had to wait until those facts became clear to us.
“As I said, Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter is in charge of this investigation and he’s the designated officer, so it’s important for him to talk to the fact that we know so far, and as I said, I was sitting with the family in Cooma yesterday so it’s appropriate that I talk to you today about what we’re dealing with now and that’s really why we all want to know why, that will take time.’
When asked by reporters if she is concerned about the impact of the incident on police, she, like everyone else, said she just wants to know what happened.
“Of course I understand the community’s concern, and I am concerned, I want answers like everyone else and I look forward to getting those answers in time,” she said.
The officer in question has resigned while the investigation is ongoing.
A family friend of Ms Nowland’s says her condition continues to worsen.
The great-grandmother is now receiving end-of-life care at Cooma District Hospital, surrounded by her distraught family.
“Her breathing is getting shallower, but she’s still with us,” family friend and community attorney Andrew Thaler told AAP on Saturday.