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Chatsworth Police settle with woman officers used a stun gun on in 2018

Image from video provided by Morris & Dean, Attorneys at Law,
Image from video provided by Morris & Dean, Attorneys at Law,
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A settlement has been reached between an 87- year old woman and the city of Chatsworth after she hit with a stun gun by the police department in 2018.

In the agreement, the city of Chatsworth is required to pay Martha Al-Bishara $150,000.

Al-Bishara's attorney, Jeff Dean says his client is glad to be out of the spotlight and hopes her story is a stepping stone for change.

"They are hoping this brings the community closer together and they hope to have a good relationship with the police force going forward," Dean added.

The city will also provide writing confirmation that the police department will reinforce the standard training for its officers on deescalation tactics and crisis intervention for mental health consumers

"We wanted to make it a point of emphasis -- that these were important classes -- that the officers needed and these were things that needed," attorney Jeff Dean says.

The agreement also says the city will provide body cameras for all patrol officer on duty to the extent of the budget. The city will also continue to create diversity in its police force.

Dean says Chatsworth Police officers should have handled this encounter differently, and says her family was upset over the way she was treated especially because she speaks very little English.

Her family says in August of 2018, Al-Bishara was foraging for dandelions to cook a meal for her husband on the property of the Boys and Girls Club near her home, when someone called 911 reporting a suspicious person with a knife. At the time, attorney Jeff Dean told us Al-Bishara was not a danger, no one was around her and she was far away from the boys and girls club.

Someone saw Al-Bishara and called 911. Chatsworth Police responded to the scene. In police bodycam video released by Al-Bishara's attorneys, you can hear officers use the stun gun on Al-Bishara and hear her cry out in pain.

Listen: Audio: 911 call released in arrest of 87-year-old woman in Chatsworth

Back in June of last year, Conasauga Judicial District Attorney Bert Poston dropped the charges against Al-Bishara.

Since the incident, the Chatsworth Poluce department would not comment and directed us to the insurance company handling the case.

Al-Bishara's husband has died since the incident happened.

We asked Chatsworth Police for a comment on the settlement. Chief of Police Josh Etheridge writes in response,

"The Chatsworth Police Department implemented the training courses, referenced in the Mediation Agreement, prior to the incident that occurred on August 10th, 2018. This training has been beneficial and we will continue it in the future."

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