Georgia resident Martha Al-Bishara is facing charges for criminal trespass and obstruction of an officer.
It was a case full of misunderstandings when the 87-year-old woman, who is from Syria and doesn't speak English, walked onto the Chatsworth County Boys and Girls Club property across the street from her home.
She was carrying a steak knife to cut some dandelions growing on the club's trails to make a salad for her husband.
But when the three officers arrived at the scene, about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta, and saw that the octogenarian was not responding to their command to drop the knife, they shot her with a taser.
Hide your elders they tasing everybody. https://t.co/YLbR1SxOuQ— C Roc The Rapper (@C Roc The Rapper)1534446500.0
While the Chatsworth police are being scrutinized for their method of disarming the elderly woman, Police Chief Josh Etheridge defended their actions to the Daily Citizen-News.
According to Etheridge, not comprehending English was not a viable excuse for resisting officers' orders.
"See's seeing us, she hears what we're saying, she may not know what we're saying, but we're telling her to stop and there's a Taser pointed at her and there's a firearm that's unholstered there."
Police Chief Josh Etheridge.(ABC News/YouTube)
"Most people, that's kind of the universal command for stop."
The #Chatsworth Georgia police department sickens me. An 87yo woman tased by police and the chief claims they were… https://t.co/deY3nZ7gdN— Mιтcнell ™Ⓜ️ (@Mιтcнell ™Ⓜ️)1534444624.0
"There was no anger, there was no malice in this. In my opinion, it was the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time."
Police in Chatworth Georgia tased an 87 year old immigrant woman who was cutting dandelions with a knife... They sa… https://t.co/fwec68sI30— Eric Peterson (@Eric Peterson)1534443658.0
Al-Bishara's family, however, disagrees and believes that the shock from the taser could've been fatal.
"If they had calmed down, de-escalated the situation, listened a little bit, we wouldn't be having this issue right now."
Solomon Douhne, the woman's great-nephew, questioned the officers' competence in the situation.
"If three police officers couldn't handle an 87-year-old woman, you might want to reconsider hanging up your badge."
Victim spoke Arabic, it’s not surprising they tased her. She’ll probably be deported now. She was smiling and cutti… https://t.co/ySVzylMQZR— Deborah (@Deborah)1534377133.0
Douhne himself is a Dalton Police Department officer and told ABC News that he wished the officers at the scene exercised common sense instead of using a taser.
@wsbradio need to put the one who tased her behind bars! Dandelions are so healthy, we should all eat the greens.— kathy noel (@kathy noel)1534341052.0
Martha Douhne, a great-granddaughter, updated NBC about Al-Bishara's condition since the incident.
"She is still repeating the incident over in her mind and telling us she didn't mean for this to happen and apologizing that she didn't want to bring this on us. She is having trouble sleeping and is stressed."
No excuse for this! 87 year old woman who does not speak English was gathering dandelions on a forest trail, then t… https://t.co/cNRZvzyLOb— S k y f l o w e r (@S k y f l o w e r)1534432771.0
The Club's employee who made the 911 call noted that the woman didn't appear threatening.
"She didn't try to attack anybody or nothing."
The grandmother was immediately handcuffed and taken to the police station for questioning. She was held there for three hours before being taken to the hospital.
Al-Bishara is scheduled to appear in court next month.