Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Witnesses deny man was threat to police

And the whole point of all the lies? A politically correct need to protect a panicky dickless Tracy

PARAMEDICS who witnessed police shoot dead a mentally ill Sydney man have contradicted claims made by the officers involved and say that at no stage did he pose a threat to anyone other than himself.

Karl Johnstone and Cheri Lutz yesterday told public hearings at the Police Integrity Commission that they were sent to the self-harm incident involving Adam Salter at his family's Lakemba home in November 2009.

They were treating the 36-year-old web designer for knife wounds when he got up, went to the sink and started to stab himself again, this time in the throat.

Ms Lutz said she then saw Sergeant Sheree Bissett come into the kitchen, yell out "Taser" and shoot Mr Salter in the back with her handgun. Mr Salter then fell to the ground.

The only other officer in the kitchen at the time of the shooting, Probationary Constable Aaron Abela, has previously given evidence that he tried to restrain Mr Salter at the time of the shooting.

Sergeant Bissett told the internal police investigation following the incident that she shot Mr Salter because it looked as if he was about to stab her colleague.

But Mr Johnstone and Ms Lutz yesterday told the commission, which is examining allegations of a police cover-up in their investigation of the shooting, this did not take place.

Mr Johnstone said he did not see anyone try and restrain Mr Salter. He also said at no stage did Mr Salter lunge or brandish a knife at police, nor did Sergeant Bissett challenge him to drop the weapon before she shot at him.

Geoffrey Watson, SC, the counsel assisting the commission, asked Mr Johnstone: "Did you see anything where Adam threatened either by words or by his physical actions anybody in the room apart from himself?"

The paramedic replied: "No".

The commission yesterday was told that police informed the media shortly after the shooting that Mr Salter had confronted four officers with the knife.

The critical incident investigation report, carried out by police into the fatal shooting, also stated Mr Salter was "brandishing a knife in a threatening fashion".

In the opening address on Monday, the commission was told that officers misled the public and their senior command about the incident. The force then failed to investigate findings by the NSW Deputy Coroner of a police cover-up, despite having the findings for more than 10 months.


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