Martha al-Bishara was charged with criminal trespass and obstructing an officer on Friday following a 911 call from Chatsworth, Georgia, to report a woman who was refusing to leave while walking with a knife outside.
The unidentified employee said in the 911 recording: “She’s old, so she can’t get around too well.
“Looks like she’s walking around looking for something, like, vegetation to cut down or something.
“There’s a bag, too.”
When officers responded to the call, al-Bishara did not follow commands to relinquish her knife.
Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge told the Daily Citizen-News he had tried to demonstrate his commands by taking his own pocket knife and laying it on the ground.
Al-Bishara was eventually held at gunpoint by the officers, who proceeded to use a stun gun to bring her to the ground.
Mr Etheridge said: “An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer.
“There was no anger, there was no malice in this.
“In my opinion, it was the lowest use of force we could have used to simply stop that threat at the time.”
But relatives of al-Bishara say she does not speak English and was merely outside to cut dandelions with a kitchen knife.
Her family argued the use of violence by the officers was excessive and could have been avoided.
Solomon Douhne, the woman’s great-nephew, said: “If three police officers couldn’t handle an 87-year-old woman, you might want to reconsider hanging up your badge.”
Al-Bishara was detained in Murray country jail for about two hours before she was released on Friday.
But her family contend she is still having trouble sleeping and is jumpy and nervous about venturing outdoors.
Martha Douhne, a great-granddaughter, said: “She is okay.
“She is still repeating the incident over in her mind and telling us she didn’t mean for this to happen and apologising that she didn’t want to bring this on us.
“She is having trouble sleeping and is stressed.”