No charges for officer who used Taser on 80-year-old woman
'While [she] was an elderly woman, she was armed with a large knife,' SIU says
There are "no reasonable grounds" to charge a Peel Regional Police officer who used a Taser on an 80-year-old woman in August, says Ontario's Special Investigations Unit.
"While Ms. Pasquale was an elderly woman, she was armed with a large knife, appeared to be suffering from a mental disorder and was non-compliant with the officers’ requests to disarm herself," said Ian Scott, head of the SIU, a civilian agency responsible for investigating circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault.
Iole Pasquale was walking on Thomas Street in Mississauga at 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 28 holding a knife with an eight-inch serrated blade, according to the report from the SIU.
After two uniformed police officers separately demanded she drop the knife, one officer used a stun gun on her to prevent her from injuring herself or others. She fell to the ground, but did not lose her grip of the knife. The officer again used the stun gun, and two other officers were able to get control of the knife, according to the report.
Pasquale was taken to Credit Valley Hospital for a mental health assessment. She sustained a fractured hip as a result of the fall, according to the hospital.
“In my view, the attending officers had the lawful authority to apprehend Ms. Pasquale under the Mental Health Act; by refusing to drop a large knife when it was being demanded of her by uniformed police officers when walking in a public area, and by not providing any reason for refusing to disarm herself, I am of the opinion that the involved officers could reasonably conclude that she suffered from a mental disorder and may cause serious bodily harm to herself or others," SIU director Ian Scott said.
"I am of the view the force used was reasonable."
The officer who used the stun gun said he "considered a number of use-of-force options" before deciding to use the weapon. In a statement, the officer said he considered the "open hands technique" — trying to wrestle the knife out of the woman's hand — and using pepper spray or his baton, but rejected those options.
In the SIU report, Scott suggests the best option not considered at the scene would have been to "track her and attempt to convince her to disarm herself."
The name of the officer who deployed the Taser was not made available to the public.