Thursday, October 6, 2011

CCTV captures cop kicking woman inside Victorian police station

And the scum at the top are investigating it now only because a newspaper covered it. Victoria police stink to high Heaven. And what was she arrested for in the first place? She was never charged in court with anything she did prior to her arrest

POLICE have launch an internal probe after the Herald Sun revealed CCTV footage showing an officer kicking a female prisoner. Closed-circuit TV footage has captured a policeman kicking a woman inside a police cell before she is abandoned in pain from capsicum spray, the Herald Sun reports.

This morning Police Command confirmed its Ethical Standards Division would now conduct an investigation into the incident.

The footage was captured inside Victoria's Dandenong police station. It came to light only after it was given to the woman in a recent court case.

The woman, who has been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, has told the Herald Sun she was humiliated and planned to complain to the Office of Police Integrity.

Acting assistant commissioner Derek Lamb told Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio this morning that police would now act. "It will be investigated by our Ethical Standards Department," Mr Lamb said. "That was decided this morning." Mr Lamb said police had not acted before as the woman had not previously complained.

"There was no complaint made, this woman didn’t make a complaint . . . had she chosen to make a complaint, then that would have been investigated at the time," he said.

Senior police yesterday defended the officer's actions. A sergeant had "pushed" her back into the cell with his foot, which was "reasonable in the circumstances". This was because the sergeant was acting in fear. [What a poor baby: Scared of a woman!]

"It doesn't appear to be a kick to me ... " Mr Lamb said yesterday. "I don't believe it's a kick. He says just that, it was about getting space. It's simply designed to push her back in and that's exactly what they're taught."

It's a position reinforced by the police union today. Police Association secretary Greg Davies said the officer did what he was trained to do. "That's something operational members are trained to do, put distance between them and an individual so that neither they nor the individual end up being physically assaulted," Sen-Sgt Davies said.

He said he was comfortable with the current use of force training. "Creating space between a police officer and someone who that police officer (feels is) violent ... is a far better practice than going back to the 1980s where people got belted with a bat at the first sign of aggression," Sen-Sgt Davies said.

"We don't particularly want to have people sustaining severe or lasting physical injuries and if putting distance between them or using capsicum spray is the way that that's done then that can only be seen as a benefit and, I might add, something that various community legal services have been calling on for years."

Police action unjustified - lawyer

Lawyer Sam Norton, of Robert Stary Lawyers, said his client had been treated appallingly. Two angles of the CCTV footage show the woman calling out to police and gesturing that she would strangle herself before they open the cell door.

There is pushing and shoving before an argument at the door. She tries to walk out of the cell and is sprayed and kicked. A female officer involved in the incident can be seen smiling as the officers walk away.

An officer can be seen hosing down the outside of the door to stop fumes affecting them.

The woman rubs her burning eyes and appears to struggle for breath for 16 minutes before the officer returns with a towel and leads her to a sink to provide after-care, contravening regulations.

"The actions of the officers were completely unjustified," Mr Norton said. "In the immediate time after he sprays her he is hosing the outside of the door so they won't be affected. "Meanwhile, she is screaming out in pain.

"I believe they then charge her because they realised they have overstepped the mark."

A charge of assault was withdrawn at court and she pleaded guilty to a charge of "act in a manner prejudicial to the good order of a jail cell". It was proved and dismissed without conviction.

The incident happened a year before the death of Chinese national Gong Ling Tang, 53, who died on May 13 last year. Mr Tang was dumped in a puddle outside the station on a wet and cold night and an ambulance was called. It is believed he died of hypothermia.

The Herald Sun has been refused under Freedom of Information from obtaining the footage. A Coronial inquest is yet to be held on Mr Tang's death.

Homicide detectives have completed a brief of evidence, but no charges have been laid against any of the officers, many of whom have been moved to other stations. One of the officers is believed to have sat in a heated police van as he watched Mr Tang on the ground.


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