You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Friday, June 19, 2009

AUSTRALIA: Queensland police probe their own on Taser complaints

June 19, 2009

COMPLAINTS about Queensland police officers' alleged misuse of Tasers are routinely being investigated - and dismissed - by police.

Of the 13 complaints made about Tasers since July 2007, only three have been finalised, with two of those found to be unsubstantiated.

Police also dismissed the third complaint - relating to the use of a Taser of a 16-year-old girl at South Bank - finding the constable involved had displayed sound judgment in his actions.

However, the Crime and Misconduct Commission disagreed with that finding and conducted its own investigation, which resulted in harsh criticism of police "for failing to learn from their mistakes". Police are still investigating nine other complaints received about the use of Tasers, with the CMC overseeing the latest investigation into the possible Taser-related death of Antonio Galeano, 39, in north Queensland this month.

A CMC spokeswoman said the commission was generally only involved in complaints "of acomplex nature".

Family and friends of Galeano farewelled the 39-year-old yesterday in Ayr, about 5km from Brandon, where he collapsed and died shortly after his confrontation with police on Friday, June 12.

Although officers involved have said he was Tasered no more than five times, data from the weapon revealed it was discharged 28 times. An autopsy has found the man suffered a heart attack, but it is not yet clear if the taser triggered that.

The incident has prompted a four-week review of Tasers in the Queensland Police Service and temporarily halted the statewide rollout of the weapons.

Civil libertarians have called for an independent investigation into the death, but Queensland Police Union acting president Ian Leavers said investigators should be left to do their job without comment.

"Only at the conclusion of all these tests will the actual cause of death be known, and only then will the actions of the officers be able to be properly assessed," Mr Leavers said.

No comments: