CPD tasing incident case file now with DA’s office

The Chatsworth Police Department has forwarded its case file on last week’s tasing incident involving an 87-year-old woman to Conasauga Circuit District Attorney Bert Poston for review. Efforts to reach Poston for a comment before deadline were unsuccessful.
Jeff Dean, a family friend and partner with the Dalton law firm of Dean and Morris who is advising the Douhne/al-Bishara family, told The Chatsworth Times that “the family is pleased that the case file is now with the District Attorney. Next steps for the family will be meeting with Mr. Poston to hear what his thoughts are on moving forward.”
Dean also revealed that the family plans to release an official statement soon.
News outlets and social media activists from across the globe descended upon Chatsworth last week – in a virtual sense – after stories on the incident spread across the internet.
People from as far away as South America, Europe and the Middle East expressed concern online about the situation, with responses ranging from appropriate indignation to outright profanity. Facebook was a particularly active spot for comments on the pages of The Chatsworth-Eton-Murray County Chamber of Commerce, The Chatsworth Times and most other pages associated with the town name.
Martha al-Bishara of Chatsworth was subdued with a Taser on August 10 after she was confronted by CPD officers on the property of the Murray County Boys & Girls Club while holding a knife. At the time, al-Bishara was reportedly looking for flowers to cut.
Following an approximately 10-minute confrontation during which al-Bishara could not respond to officers’ commands because she does not speak English, she was tased and taken into custody on criminal trespass charges.
Critics contend that able-bodied police officers should be able to subdue an 87-year-old woman without using that level of force. Police advocates say that protocol dictates any subject holding a deadly weapon be engaged as a threat to officers and the safety of the general public.
Bodycam footage of the incident has been turned over to investigators for review.

Cruelty charges possible after 78 dogs seized

 Last week, volunteers from the Murray County Humane Society and the Atlanta Humane Society removed 78 dogs from a private property located on Old Federal Road in Chatsworth. Though initially investigated as an animal hoarding case, Humane Society officials now confirm that new evidence indicates the possibility of a commercial dog breeding operation onsite.
This week, animal lovers across Murray County are seeking answers after learning that the property owners faced scrutiny over their property and the way they raised dogs years ago.
“Almost all the dogs seized last week were female and pregnant, or had been pregnant recently,” said Murray County Animal Services Director Lisa Green, who took over the Animal Services operation last year. “Many of them had to be taken to immediate medical care.
She added that “initial reports said that the dogs had food and water, but that was only because we had brought it in with us. We were able to get the search warrant because there was no food or water in sight and the dogs appeared to be in distress.”
The situation was so distressing for some of the animal rights workers who worked onsite that they are planning to meet and talk through their emotions this week to ensure that any psychological trauma doesn’t linger.
“Of the first 25 animals I saw, almost every one appeared to be inbred,” said Green. “The final dogs taken out had serious health issues after having been kept in a crate and bred and bred and bred.”
Green confirmed that an estimated 40 to 60 animals were seized from one of the property owners several years ago.
Murray County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jimmy Davenport confirmed this week that the property owners have yet to be charged or arrested in this case. MCSO officials would not release the names of the property owners because the investigation is ongoing, but confirmed to the media that the district attorney’s office is involved in assessing possible charges.
Volunteers with Back in Black Dog Rescue, Callie’s Pet Rescue, God Only Knows Animal Rescue, Luv a Dog and the National Spay Alliance Foundation helped to remove the dogs, which were taken to the Atlanta Humane Society shelters in Atlanta.
At least one dog already has been adopted, said Green.
Green said Murray County Animal Control received a tip about the property Sunday night and reached out to the sheriff’s office.
MCSO officials said that shortly after the search warrant was issued but before the property was searched one of the property owners called animal control to surrender the dogs.
Green said the owner’s interest in keeping only the female dogs, particularly those who are pregnant, lends credence to the theory that an operation was in place simply to make money off the dogs.

Family owned greenhouse celebrates three decades of business in Murray County

Twin Oaks Greenhouse (TOG), a local family owned business located at 4035 Crandall Ellijay Rd. in Chatsworth, recently passed an important milestone when they celebrated their 30th anniversary in Murray County this March.
Yvonne (Chambers) Sampson, the owner of TOG and a native of Murray County, graduated from Murray High School in 1986 and went into the greenhouse business two years later.
In high school, Sampson decided she wanted to have a greenhouse business after she spent time in the MCHS Horticulture program.
“I loved the Horticulture program.  I spent almost the equivalent of six years of school under the horticulture program, which included greenhouse management, flora-culture, landscape design and more in-depth courses under greenhouse grower,”  explained Sampson.
“I talked to my parents, Emmett and Frieda Chambers, and told them that I felt that I would like to have a greenhouse business,” said Sampson.  “My dad took me to First National Bank of Chatsworth.  Paul Ross was the president at the time, and was the first person to help me get a loan to start my business,” she said.
A number of different types of plants are offered at TOG, including bedding plant flowers, vegetables and hanging baskets.  Many of the plants are grown from their own seeds and plugs right here in Murray County and seeds are ordered from NON GMO (genetically modified organisms) grower companies.
“I do not believe in tampering with the original makeup of plants.  The Lord made plants perfect to begin with; if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” stated Sampson.
“We grow many of our plants from seeds, and we also grow small plants from plugs,” said Sampson.  “We do this in an effort to save our customers the additional charges that we would have to pass on if we should have to buy plants already grown.”

TOG offers a robust selection, making them an attractive option to driving all the way to Dalton to visit a big box nursery.
“Basket plant sizes are 10″, bedding plants, flowers and vegetable are mostly in packs of 6, and larger tomatoes are offered in 1 gallon containers and perennials also,” says Sampson.  When asked about her competition, Sampson replied, “When people purchase from us, it directly helps our family, not a large corporation.”
Twin Oaks sells to the general public, and also sells wholesale to businesses that resell plants in surrounding counties.  The business is open  Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  They do request that anyone traveling from a greater distance contact them first to make sure they’re open.
“This March marked 30 years for us being in the greenhouse industry.  We are thankful to the Lord God for our health, family and the pleasure of living in Murray County,” Sampson pointed out.
“Our whole family loves the county, the mountains and the freedoms that we still enjoy in the U.S.A.” added Sampson.
For info on Twin Oaks Greenhouse, call at 706-280-6047.