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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Second Spratt Taser video is chilling: MP

The release of a "chilling" second video of the tasering of Kevin Spratt will trash Western Australia's reputation for treatment of Aboriginal prisoners, a state MP has declared.

The state's corruption watchdog is inquiring into whether any members of Western Australia Police or the Department of Corrective Services engaged in misconduct during Mr Spratt's repeated tasering while in custody.

The tasering of Mr Spratt at Perth Watch House on August 31, 2008 first came to light with the release of a report by the Corruption and Crime Commission into the use of Taser stun guns in WA.

CCTV footage showed the unarmed and subdued man being tasered 14 times while nine officers surrounded him.

Corruption and Crime Commission commissioner Len Roberts-Smith said the inquiry was triggered by the widespread media exposure, serious public concerns and revelations Mr Spratt had been repeatedly tasered again a week later by corrective services personnel.

The footage of that incident, which occurred on September 6, 2008, was shown for the first time on Thursday after the government had previously refused to make it public.

Seven heavily protected prison officers wearing helmets and carrying batons are shown entering Mr Spratt's prison cell and yelling at Mr Spratt to turn around and lie down.

"If you don't lay down, I'm going to taser you. Turn around and lay down. That's it, I'm not going to ask you again. If I have to ask you again I'm going to taser you," one officers shouts.

After an unarmed Mr Spratt apparently refuses, a prison officer tasers Mr Spratt twice and he is then pinned face down on the floor.

The officers then demand Mr Spratt extend his arms straight out while an officer drives a Taser into the small of his bare back and uses it nine times.

During the ordeal Mr Spratt can be heard talking in native tongue and praying to God.

As the footage was played, Mr Spratt's fiancee, Tayunna Schatkowski, was unable to watch and broke down in tears.

In his opening address, counsel assisting, Peter Quinlan, said on the day after the tasering by the prison officers, Mr Spratt was treated at Royal Perth Hospital.

"Mr Spratt was diagnosed as suffering from at least one, and possibly other fractures of the ribs, a collapse of his lung, his right shoulder was dislocated with a comminuted fracture of the humerus," he said.

"In addition Mr Spratt had multiple superficial cuts and abrasions including several puncture wounds consistent with the use of a Taser in probe mode."

Shadow attorney-general John Quigley said the conduct was disgraceful and would damage WA's reputation.

"The violence was absolutely chilling. Tonight WA's reputation in the way we treat Aboriginal prisoners will be trashed internationally," he told reporters outside the hearing.

"This video depicts disgraceful violence against an Aboriginal prisoner in police custody."

CCTV footage released previously of the first incident in which Mr Spratt was tasered showed him refusing a strip search by sitting on a bench and locking his arms onto the armrests.

"Senior Constable Troy Tomlin said 'Give us your hand or you're going to get f***** tasered, do you understand? Now!' and within seconds deployed a Taser in drive stun mode against Mr Spratt," Mr Quinlan said, describing the footage to the hearing.

"Without warning Senior Constable Tomlin again deployed a Taser in drive stun mode. Sgt Aaron Strahan and Constable Geoffrey Toogood each grabbed one of Mr Spratt's legs."

The hearing will continue on Monday.

1 comment:

Excited-Delirium blog said...

It's called "torture".

Seriously, that's exactly what it is.


Torture is a very serious crime. It's defined by international treaty. Prison sentences might be as high as 14 years.

Now watch and you'll see that nothing will be done against anyone involved.


Torture. Then nothing. Think about it. It's very sad.