December 15, 2010
Amanda O'Brien, The Australian
A POLICE officer has admitted Kevin Spratt was not being violent before he was tasered in the East Perth lock-up in 2008. And a stun gun was used because he wanted the Aboriginal man to hurry up.
Senior Constable Troy Tomlin told the Corruption and Crime Commission yesterday that Mr Spratt had only become violent after he was tasered, and all of his strikes were in stun-mode, which caused intense pain.
The commission is investigating whether any officers engaged in misconduct when Mr Spratt was tasered 14 times in a matter of minutes on August 31. The incident began when he refused to be strip-searched.
Video, which shows Mr Spratt surrounded by nine police while on the floor, caused international outrage when it was released in October.
The first four taser strikes were fired by Constable Tomlin.
The CCC yesterday produced evidence showing Mr Spratt was not the only person to be tasered at the East Perth lock-up, giving examples of two other men who also refused to be strip-searched.
One was tasered four times before police removed his clothes. Another was tasered once when he wouldn't drop his pants during a search. The police incident report said the taser "made him let go of his trousers". The names of the men were suppressed.
Constable Tomlin told the hearing he was "unprofessional" when he told Mr Spratt to "give me your hand or I'll f..king taser you". But he claimed Mr Spratt had threatened to kill him. This was not supported by CCTV.
He also said he was trying to protect Mr Spratt when he tasered him because he thought he had been struck by another officer and would "get another kick" if he did not co-operate.
Detective Sergeant Gary Thwaites, who was in charge of the lock-up at the time, said his officers behaved properly. "None of them are cowboys. They're not vindictively tasering Mr Spratt for no reason," he said.
In a heated exchange with counsel assisting the CCC, Peter Quinlan SC, he said Constable Tomlin had "every right to defend himself" and he was not swayed by the video not showing any overt threat.
He said Mr Spratt was affected by drugs and had a history of violence. "At the end of the day, Troy has got every right to look after himself. Does he have to wait until he's struck?" he said.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
December 15, 2010