CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago’s Police Department is investigating an officer’s use of a Taser last month on an 82-year-old woman who was swinging a hammer when police arrived.
Officials with the city’s Department on Aging went to Lillian Fletcher’s home Oct. 29 to make a welfare check, and called police when they saw Fletcher in a window swinging a hammer back and forth, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said Tuesday.
Officers arrived and in an attempt to subdue Fletcher one of them used their Taser, Bond said. The department is trying to determine if the officer violated department policy regarding the use of stun guns.
Fletcher’s granddaughter, Traci Taylor, told the Chicago Sun-Times that her grandmother suffers from schizophrenia and dementia.
“My grandmother is easily confused,” Taylor told the newspaper, adding that the elderly woman can be belligerent but is about 5 feet 1 and no more than 160 pounds.
“I just don’t think they should be Tasing 82-year-old women. That’s ridiculous,” Taylor said.
Police departments around the country have come under fire for the use of Tasers following several deaths.
The human rights group Amnesty International USA has voiced concerns that police departments are starting to use tasers more routinely rather than in cases of serious danger.
Taser use by police drew national attention recently when police stunned and arrested a University of Florida student after his fervent, videotaped outburst at an event with Sen. John Kerry in September.