An 87-year-old woman was out cutting dandelions with a knife when an employee of a Boys and Girls club called the police, telling them she refused to leave.
“She’s old so she can’t get around too well, but,” the employee said on the 911 recording. “Looks like she’s walking around looking for something, like, vegetation to cut down or something. There’s a bag, too.”
Officers arrived and responded to the situation by holding her at gunpoint, shocking her with a taser and keeping her in jail for hours, the Associated Press reports.
The department’s police chief defended officers’ actions, claiming that given the situation, this was the least aggressive use of force.
But the woman’s family says she presented no threat. They claim she simply couldn’t understand the officers’ demands to drop the knife because she doesn’t speak English. She’s now nervous about going outside.
“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,” said Martha Douhne, a great-granddaughter.
Another relative pointed out that the officers could have handled the encounter without the use of any force.
“If three police officers couldn’t handle an 87-year-old woman, you might want to reconsider hanging up your badge,” Solomon Douhne, the woman’s great-nephew, told the Associated Press.