Authorities in Georgia are defending the actions of officers involved in an encounter with an elderly woman in Chatsworth last week.
According to Fox News, police responded to an area adjacent to 87-year-old Martha Al-Bishara’s home and found her with a knife.
Authorities had been informed of the situation by a concerned local who called 911 a short time earlier.
“She’s old so she can’t get around too well,” the caller said. “Looks like she’s walking around looking for something, like vegetation to cut down or something. There’s a bag, too.”
After repeatedly warning her to drop the weapon, an officer deployed a stun gun sent a shock of electricity through the woman.
Her family, however, says she was simply trimming weeds in her yard and does not speak English, so she did not understand the officers’ commands.
Regardless of the circumstances, Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge said the non-lethal response was “the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time.”
The chief pointed out that despite the suspect’s age, she could still pose a threat to others.
“An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer,” he said.
Etheridge went on to insist that there was no “anger” or “malice” in the decision to deploy a stun gun. He added that the department will be conducting an internal review of the incident.
Nevertheless, the suspect’s great-nephew said the three responding officers should reconsider their line of work if they could not handle the elderly woman.
Al-Bishara is facing charges of criminal trespass and obstructing an officer. She was released ahead of a court appearance after spending about two hours behind bars.
Her great-granddaughters said the woman is “OK” but 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.”
[Featured image: Martha Al-Bishara, police handout]