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Woman dies in Australia after police use Taser, bean bag rounds

Sydney, Sep 15 (IANS) Police in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) on Friday said that a woman died in hospital after she was tasered and shot with a bean bag round during a standoff with officers.

In a statement, the NSW Police Force said that at around 12.30 p.m.on Thursday, officers were called to a unit complex on Mitchell Street in Stockton, following reports of a woman threatening people with an axe, reports Xinhua news agency.

Police were able to gain entry to the property at about 9.45 p.m.and the 47-year-old woman was taken into custody after a number of tactical options were implemented, including the use of a Taser and impact munitions.

She was then escorted from the scene to an ambulance.

But her condition worsened and later died in a hospital.

NSW Police Force has launched a critical incident investigation over the woman’s death.

At a press conference held on Friday, NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna said that officers were threatened by the woman with her axe before she retreated back into the unit.

“During the arrest, the woman sustained an injury to her right shoulder,” McKenna noted.

He explained to reporters that the woman was hit by a bean bag round, which is a “less than lethal option” used by law enforcement agencies.

“Local police attended shortly after 12.30. As I understand it, they attempted to negotiate with the woman themselves for quite some time. And when that wasn’t able to be achieved, then the technical police were brought in,” said McKenna.

According to the assistant commissioner, the critical incident investigation would cover multiple issues, including mental health and other options that could have been utilised to disarm people.

Earlier in May, a 95-year-old woman died in hospital after being tasered by a senior constable from the NSW Police Force during an incident at a Cooma nursing home.

On May 17, dementia patient Clare Nowland was tasered when she was approaching police at a slow pace and holding a steak knife in her hand.

She was transported to hospital in a critical condition and died on May 24.

The senior constable was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.

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