March against police after 95yo killed
A small group of protesters have called on NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb to stand down as they marched on the force’s headquarters over the death of Clare Nowland on Saturday.
The great-grandmother died in Cooma hospital on Wednesday, a week after she was Tasered by police during an incident at a nursing home.
Senior Constable Kristian White, 33, has been charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault and will face Cooma Local Court in July.
His lawyer, Warwick Anderson, has said that the senior officer is distressed and concerned for the welfare of all involved.
On Saturday, around a dozen protesters marched from Parramatta Train Station.
Two NSW Police officers accompanied the group on the approximately 12-minute march to Police headquarters.
The group waved placards and signs calling for NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb to resign.
Another sign said: “Disarm the NSW Police Today”.
The protesters also called for the NSW Police Force to release the body worn camera footage of the incident.
Officers were called to Yallambee Lodge aged care home in Cooma about 4.15am last Wednesday after Ms Nowland, who has dementia, was found by staff holding a steak knife.
Police allege she was still armed with the knife when they arrived at the aged care facility.
After officers failed to get her to drop the knife, an experienced officer discharged a Taser, allegedly causing Ms Nowland to fall and hit her head.
She was taken to Cooma Hospital “in and out of consciousness” and her family were by her side while she received end-of-life care.
Ms Nowland was approaching the officers at a “slow pace” while assisted by a walking frame when the taser was fired according to NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter
Mr White remains suspended with pay as investigations continue.
The Police Commissioner said the charges came after a “proper investigation that is not prejudiced”.
“I’m confident that we have come to a position now, seven days later, that this matter is before the court without interference,” Ms Webb said.
She said bodycam footage of the incident alone did not lead to the charging of the officer, but rather “all the evidence”, including witness statements and expert testimony.
Ms Webb said during the week that she had not watched the body-camera footage of the incident but had “heard what’s in the footage”.
“I am concerned about what that will reveal and that will be brought out in court, like any other matter,” she said.
The homicide squad were brought into assist the inquiry which was labelled as a “critical incident” due to the nature of Ms Nowland’s injuries.
NSW Police have come under heavy scrutiny in the wake of the incident, with Ms Webb saying that it’s not yet known why the confrontation was handled in that way by officers.
“We don’t know why the aged care facility called police in the first place,” she said on the Today Show.
“Police officers are trained in a number of tactical options to use the least amount of force.
“Until we actually understand why, we won’t really know.”
Ms Webb added the incident had been an ordeal for NSW Police.
“Of course this has been traumatic for everyone in the police force and this is one matter while the rest of the police force continues to do their job 24/7 to protect and look after the citizens in NSW.”