Boofhead brutality super-charged by a Taser
The verdict was scathing. We knew it would be.
The NSW State Coroner, Mary Jerram, handed down her report this morning into the death of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti, 21, who was Tasered by police nine times on March 18 before he died.
In her sights: The dumb behaviour of the police involved in the incident.
If you’ve ever read a Coroner’s report before, you’ll know that they’ve got a knack for writing. This time was no different.
The cops behaved with an “ungoverned pack mentality”, the Coroner said - like schoolboys from Lord of the Flies. She recommended five of the officers involved face disciplinary charges, but stopped short of calling for a criminal investigation against the parties.
For the public, also on trial was the future of Taser use in Australia. The coroner ruled out Tasers as the direct cause of the fatality - but getting electrocuted nine times sure didn’t help Roberto’s vulnerable state.
Earlier this year a serving NSW police officer wrote on The Punch:
I am of the opinion as an operator that when used appropriately it lessens the chance of death or injury.
And there’s evidence to suggest that this is true.
Geoff Alpert, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina who has researched Tasers, put in a submission to the coronial inquest. In a three-year study he conducted for the university, he argued that stuns guns and pepper spray can clearly reduce the likelihood of injuries to officers and suspects.
But he also found evidence of officers using Tasers too quickly and too often in the United States - something he dubbed “lazy cop syndrome”.
We’re not talking about Police Chief Wiggum from The Simpson’s here, though, gorging themselves on Krispy Kremes. A “lazy” cop is a dangerous cop - someone with disregard to the huge amount of (electrical) power they’ve got in their hands and the damage they can do to people.
Banning Tasers for use for all time would be rash - although it may have been a rash move for many cops to already be armed with them in the first place.
On principle, they just shouldn’t be in the hands of dickheads. That’s something we should all be able to agree on.
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