The NSW police commissioner said earlier this week that police could soon be doubling as camera men and women, recording footage of alcohol-related confrontations. This would serve as evidence of bad behaviour and support the Force’s current Operation Unite and previous hard-line campaigns.
Andrew Scipione claims the cameras will enhance “transparency” and “accountability”. But the officers would be the ones to press Record, Stop and Delete, meaning there would be no guarantee of honest, fair and unbiased representation. Or transparency, for that matter. Would you expect to see incriminating or abusive footage that implicates the Police in any way? Hardly.
If ever such recordings were admissible in court, the one-sided footage could also be prejudicial.
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A young Brazilian university student runs disorientated down a busy Sydney street, visibly distressed. He darts into a nearby convenience store, steals a packet of biscuits and rushes back out. A bystander witnesses his erratic behaviour and calls police.
Shortly after, Roberto Laudisio Curti is chased by police, thrashing his arms around as he tries to escape. The officers catch up and he is pushed to the ground and handcuffed, held down with the help of up to 11 officers, capsicum sprayed and tasered repeatedly as he lies in agony on the ground. By the time an ambulance arrives, Roberto is dead.
A 14-year-old boy, recently released from a rehab clinic, gets into a violent confrontation at a party on the New South Wales mid-north coast. police are called and the boy flees. Shortly after, he is captured by police hiding in a caravan park. After struggling with police, he was pepper sprayed and then Tasered. In the video of the incident, the boy is seen huddled over as Taser volts run through his body. He screams and cries in agony.
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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.
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Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit, a regular column that looks at deceit and disingenuousness, spin and fabrication. Now, let’s talk about Tasers.
The latest news on Roberto Laudisio, who died after police tasered him in the back because the unarmed young man was running away and suspected of stealing a packet of bikkies, is that he’d been “partying” and may have been exhibiting signs of paranoia.
Police and Taser spin merchants want to blame ‘excited delirium’ for Taser-related deaths.
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There has been a lot of bad press about police use of Tasers (or electronic control devices) by police. The recent death of Roberto Laudisio has brought it back to the headlines and numerous pieces have been written about it.
As a serving police officer I feel it is necessary to clear up a lot of what has been written as they are factually incorrect. I won’t go into this incident in any depth as it is under investigation, but the purpose of this article is to help clear up a lot of misconceptions about the use of the X-26.
Firstly: The Taser was introduced as a replacement for police using their firearms: This is incorrect.
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The latest death from a police Taser in Sydney shows the need for the whole community to start asking some tough questions about the ever-expanding use of these weapons by police forces across Australia.
Tasers have been presented by law enforcement agencies and their Police Ministers as “non-lethal” alternatives to firearms. However the figures on Taser use in NSW and across the world show that they are often lethal, and do not displace firearms use.
Back in 2008 when the NSW government made the decision to trial Tasers, the public was told they would reduce the use of firearms.
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Today’s weasel word award goes to the term ‘non-lethal’, frequently used to describe Tasers. It’s especially weaselly when the term is being bandied about so soon after a man has died. NSW police Tasered a man in Sydney over the weekend, alleging he resisted arrest. He died at the scene.
It may not have been the Taser whodunnit. Just like Tasers might not have directly caused hundreds of other deaths associated with their use.
Those cases could just be the results of a perfect storm, of someone high on adrenalin, with a faulty heart, and the delivery of 50,000 volts designed to make their muscles spasm were just another contributing factor. But that doesn’t make the phrase ‘non lethal’ any less oleaginous, disingenuous, and inaccurate.
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