Saturday, October 15, 2011

Coverup attempt by NSW police killers

Panicky dickless Tracy the killer. Female police should not be deployed into volatile situations while armed

POLICE killed a man they were supposed to be helping, then carried out an inadequate and flawed investigation "to avoid embarrassment" to the force and officers involved, a Coroner said today.

In a scathing assessment yesterday, Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell said Adam Salter's death was likely a horrible accident, a police officer choosing her gun instead of her taser in a fatal mix-up.

But describing the police response as an "utter failure", Mr Mitchell said the report into the critical incident written by Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Russell Oxford was "seriously flawed".

Salter was shot and killed in the kitchen of his Lakemba home in November 2009 after police responded to a call that the 36-year-old was stabbing himself with a knife.

The shooter, Sergeant Sheree Bissett, and other police claimed that Salter was threatening another officer with a knife and that lethal force was her only option. But Mr Mitchell said the evidence indicated to him that Salter's only threat was to himself - not any of the officers present.

During the inquest, Mr Mitchell was told Sgt Bissett had shouted "taser, taser, taser" before firing her gun. "There is a very strong flavour of confusion and mistake and, given (that taser) cry ... I think it is more likely than not that Sergeant Bissett mistakenly chose her Glock, having intended to employ her Taser," he said.

The shooting, he said, was swift and without just cause. "Without any proper warning or even challenge, Sgt. Bissett fired the fatal shot ... apparently without taking time for any thoughtful consideration of the alternatives on offer," he said.

Mr Mitchell went on to slam the investigation into the incident, saying at least two officers failed to take notes and another admitted his were "most inadequate". "To talk about if formal recognition of their actions in the performance of their duties is ridiculous," he said.

"And all this was followed by an inadequate and apparently prejudiced Critical Incident Investigation, chiefly directed, as far as I can tell, to avoid embarrassment to Police."

Mr Mitchell declined to refer the case to the DPP for charges, make recommendations nor send it to the Police Integrity Commission for further investigation. However he suggested Salter's family "may be advised" to do the latter.

Outside the court, Adrian Salter said they were still considering whether or not they would pursue the matter with the PIC. "What's important to us is that Adam's life was taken unexpectedly, tragically and unnecessarily," he told reporters.

"I think that what happened was a tragic mistake and wouldn't have happened had the police not been carrying guns."


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