87-year-old woman Tased by police while cutting dandelions, family says

CHATSWORTH, Ga. — A Chatsworth woman says she was stunned with a Taser by police while she was out cutting dandelions outside a Boys and Girls Club.

Investigators said they got a 911 call from the club about the woman, but the caller said the woman wasn't a threat.

Chatsworth police officers found 87-year old Martha al-Bishara on the property when they arrived.

Police said they ordered Bishara to drop the knife and then shocked her with a Taser.

Family members shared photos of Bishara inside her hospital room with Channel 2's Richard Elliot.

When Elliot stopped by her home Tuesday, her family said she was doing well.

“She’s recovering, you know. Still a little sore from what she’s gone through,” nephew Solomon Douhne said.


Friday afternoon, Bishara walked across the street from her house to cut some dandelions for her salad from property owned by the Boys and Girls Club.

When they saw a woman with a knife, they called 911.

“She’s so old, she can’t get around too well,” the caller told the 911 dispatcher. “Looks like she’s walking around looking for something, like, vegetation to cut down or something.”

“She just brought the knife onto the property in her hand. She didn’t try to attack anybody or anything,” Douhne said.

When police arrived, they ordered Bishara, who doesn’t speak English, to drop the knife. When they say she didn’t and moved toward them, they shocked her with the Taser.

“She really didn’t know what was going on or why they were there. She had no clue what to expect,” Douhne said.

Douhne told Elliot that he is a former Dalton police officer. He admits Chatsworth police didn’t appear to do anything procedurally wrong, but he wishes they had used more common sense to disarm his 87-year-old aunt.

“Less-lethal force is the practice that we normally (follow), but in this case, you know, if you could tell the communication wasn’t working, she was not posing a threat, give it time, let it play out,” Douhne said.

She’s currently charged with trespassing and obstruction.

In an interview with the Dalton Daily Citizen-News, the Chatsworth police chief defended their actions: