GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Greene County Sheriff Pat Hankins says he 100% supports a deputy who tased an 81-year-old woman on Sunday.
But her family members have now hired an attorney.
Sheriff Hankins said he supports the deputy because he had 14 seconds to decide what to do.
His other two options were to shoot the woman or take a chance at risking his life.
Greene County deputies have responded to 81-year-old Beunos Erwin’s home dozens of times in the past year.
Some Sheriff’s Office reports we obtained claim she suffers from dementia and often sees things that aren’t there.
Erwin’s son called 9-1-1 telling dispatchers his mother was being combative.
According to an incident report, Erwin was using a broom to beat on cars and was yelling.
That report, says she has dementia and says she often sees things that aren’t there.
In fact, there is a lengthy history of calls coming from Erwin’s home. More than 40 calls, dating back to June of last year.
Sometimes Erwin called multiple times a day, claiming there are people on her property. But when officers arrived, they can’t find anyone.
In a complaint call on January second, a deputy went inside her home and found the floor was about to fall in and there was an odor of animal waste that could be smelled from outside.
Her son, who lives next door, told them he was unable to help his mother and made a statement that he wanted them to take her to jail.
Later that month, a call was placed to adult protective services. But the report says nothing could be done unless she was “running the streets naked”.
This past Sunday, deputies left the scene but were called back about 40 minutes later.
The report says when they arrived back on scene they saw Erwin had a garden rake in her hands.
Sheriff Hankins said Erwin had already knocked out several windows with the rake when they arrived.
She then started down the sidewalk toward the deputy saying “get off my land”.
But the Lieutenant says he was in the road about 50 feet from her, not on her land.
That’s when the report said she advanced toward the Lieutenant with the rake in her hands in a “threatening manner”.
When she got about 10-12 feet away from him, the report says he used his taser because he thought an attack was coming.
Erwin fell to the ground and he cuffed her.
EMS arrived and removed a taser probe from her thigh.
That’s when she became combative again, threatening to kill all the officers on scene.
EMS took her to the hospital for evaluation. The report indicates charges are pending.
We reached out to family members, but they declined to comment about the case.
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