Friday, December 10, 2010

The charming wallopers of Western Australia

Obviously trained by the Gestapo

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 WA 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 the 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 emergency support group officers from Corrective Services.

The footage of that incident, which occurred on September 6, 2008, was shown for the first time today 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 him twice before 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 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, and 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**king 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."

SOURCE. Video at link.

'Untruthful' W.A. cops fired over Taser initiatiation ceremonies

'Untruthful' cops? How amazing!

POLICE Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan has sacked two officers who misled investigators during an inquiry into the improper use of Tasers stun guns on other officers at Rockingham Police Station. An internal investigation was launched after the conduct of the sergeant and the senior constable was reported to another senior officer.

The Commissioner said both officers under investigation were found to have improperly used Tasers against other members of staff on several occasions between October 2008 and May 2010. It was also found the officers had contributed to the formation of an unacceptable culture at Rockingham Station where junior staff felt unable to bring concerns to the attention of more senior police.

However, the primary reason for their removal, was their lack of integrity during the internal investigation process, Mr O'Callaghan said. “The final straw in this whole sorry saga was that neither of the two officers investigated told the truth to internal investigators when they were first required to,” he said. “They continued to deny the allegations and offered improbable explanations for their behaviour.”

Mr O’Callaghan said one of the officers was interviewed six times. “I have made it clear that I will not tolerate police officers being untruthful or evasive to internal investigators," he said. "It undermines the whole process of police integrity. “Police do not get to choose when they tell the truth and when they do not. “It is untenable that a sergeant and senior constable think it is acceptable to mislead investigators that I have appointed to act on my behalf.”

Mr O’Callaghan said the two officers were involved in several incidents where they Tasered other members of staff against their will. “While I was reviewing the file, it came to my notice that they had told lies to internal investigators – they had not told the truth, (and) they had left out critical pieces of information,” he said.

“I can’t tolerate police officers misleading investigators, not telling the truth or not telling the complete truth. That, for me, was the tipping point in making the decision about dismissing these officers from the WA Police.”

He said “a number of people” had been Tasered by the officers, who were in charge of junior officers and shifts at the station. One of the officers was a senior constable with 36 years’ experience.

“I think it’s a cultural thing – it was probably a bit of jocularity, but it is a misuse of the weapon, and we won’t tolerate that,” Mr O'Callaghan said. He admitted there had been a culture of Taser misuse at Rockingham Police Station and said the conduct of two junior officers had also been examined as part of the investigation.

The junior officers had retained their jobs after they were honest in the investigation, the Commissioner said.


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