Thursday, August 30, 2012

The suspicious shooting of a Queensland petty criminal

The police story seems to be a pack of lies. They say they were shooting to defend themselves as he pursued them. So why did the autopsy find he was shot in the back?

The man's father writes as below:

I am writing this letter to address the concerns and inconsistencies I have with regard to the investigation of the shooting death of our son Jason Paul Protheroe by a Qld Police Officer.

1) On Tuesday 17th April 2012 two officers met with me in the street and I took them inside and they were looking for Jason. We have had police coming to our home for at least 18 years and yet on this occasion all 3 of us (Myself, my wife & our son Stuart) felt a real urgency about this visit, we were all very troubled by their behaviour. This was mentioned to the investigating officers by both my wife and son whilst we were being interviewed that afternoon.

2) Why is it that two allegedly highly experienced detectives (as was stated) entered Crystal Sinn’s home with recording devices asking to conduct a search of her premises without a warrant, and did not turn them on. One would think police protocol would call for these searches to be recorded otherwise the search surely would be declared illegal if any evidence was found. I find it extremely convenient that no recording device was turned on until after our son was shot, this in itself raises alarm bells. Not to mention that a warning had been issued that there was at least 1 gun in the house. Why did these 2 highly experienced officers not use their recording devices when they were at a house with female & 2 children?

3) Why is it that the shooting officer asked Crystal Sinn to call 000 when he was on the phone to his boss with one hand and trying to perform CPR with the other? Crystal actually asked if the ambulance had been called. Yet as far as we are aware the other officer was on the footpath also on his mobile. One would reasonably think that 000 should have been the first person called if a life could have been saved.

4) Our son Stephen was already at the scene before my wife and I arrived, he had been told that Jason was alive by officers then Crystal Sinn was brought out in a police car with her children, she screamed at the officers to stop and she spoke with Stephen, she told him that Jason was dead. Stephen asked if he had a weapon, Crystal in her grief stricken state couldn’t speak but answered by beating her hand on her chest and nodding no. Stephen then asked the officer driving the vehicle if it was true that his brother was dead, the officer verified it to be true. This left our son to be the one who had to tell my wife & I and his brothers that Jason was dead.

5) We arrived at the scene of the shooting and were badly treated by the police officers on the scene, in fact they even threatened to Tazer and lock us up if we didn’t shut up and F---off. We were a family in grief that needed answers and instead we were treated like we were criminals.

6) Meanwhile the news camera’s had arrived on the scene and news was being broadcast regarding our son’s death. Ian Leavers from Qld Police Union stated several facts that were untrue including Jason being in possession of a fully loaded semi automatic pistol aiming and hunting 2 police officers down giving them no choice but to shoot or be shot. He also stated that Jason was shot twice once in the chest and once in the abdomen. For 3 days following this news broadcast we believed what Mr Leavers was correct in his alleged facts and yet when we attended the John Tong Centre we found out that our son had in fact been shot in the back and the back of the left shoulder. We have never believed our son had a weapon and the fact that the only eye witness on the scene had stated that our son did not have a weapon of any form, and we had never known Jason to have a weapons charge of any form against him or ever have a weapon. We were so upset by these allegations and then to learn once again that the gun our son allegedly had was a toy replica just shattered us again. No finger prints were found on the replica pistol at all which confirms our belief that our son had no weapon at all.

7) On the 6pm news they released our son’s name and photograph (Mug shot), this was prior to either of his 2 children being notified by the Qld Police. They did not visit Caleb’s house until around 8pm and Brianna’s house until around 10pm. The Qld Police should never have allowed Jason’s name to be released prior to his children being officially advised.

8) Witness statements were taken but yet it appears that no questions were asked. For example, I spoke with a witness in Ivor street who said that she gave a statement to the police that she had seen a police officer walk out of the gate and stand on the foot path and make a phone call and yet when I questioned her as to whether she saw the police officer walk out the gate she replied with well no I just assumed he had walked out the gate because the gate was open but I actually only saw him on the phone on the footpath. When I spoke to the ethical standards officers about this lady needing to change her statement they had advised me their superiors had said that they had already spoken with the woman and did not need to go and re-interview her.

9) Further witness statements also contradict the information given from the police, including the position of where Jason’s body initially was when he was shot. A witness stood on a 6ft high fence and could see straight into the area where Jason lay. His body was moved apparently to perform CPR but my understanding is that Jason was dead from the bullet that went through his heart. Was Jason alive when paramedics arrived on the scene?

10) The shooting officer claims that Jason and him were standing in what I would describe as a Mexican stand-off position, he said “they were standing face to face aiming guns at each other, we were both in a stationary position and he will never forget the rage in his eyes and he fired 3 times well it must have been 4 because 4 shell casings were found. We have been given the reason of tunnel vision as to why Jason was shot in the back and it doesn’t wash with me, I see no reason why my son was shot twice in the back, in fact if we are to believe this police officer’s version then why did these bullets not hit him in the front of his body. This officer is not offering this as a possible scenario he is saying this is factual as to how our son was shot. I have spoken to doctors and educated people and nobody can give me a concise or reasonable explanation as to how this could possibly happen. I want these officers suspended from duty while a thorough investigation is done. I want to know the truth no matter how ugly it may be I need to know the truth.

11) There were 4 shell casings found 3 of them together on one wall of the carport and one in the back corner of the carport the totally opposite side. I am yet to hear any witness state that they heard 4 shots even the shooter himself. The 4th bullet has never been found and I question whether there were 4 shots.

12) The toy replica pistol which is the alleged weapon involved had no fingerprints whatsoever and yet we have since the shooting discovered photos on facebook of the toy being held by 4 different people including Jason. We have handed these photos to the police as evidence. I still want to know why no fingerprints at all were found on this including the police officer who picked it up by the barrel and threw it. Also what doesn’t make sense is that the only DNA on the toy replica belonged to Jason and no other person, yet we have clearly proven at least 4 other people apart from Jason have handled this replica including the shooting officer.

13) I still have no idea where Jason’s clothes are that he was wearing on the day. I have asked police and the coroner and nobody seems to know where they are. We would like an answer to know where our son’s clothing is.

14) We also want to know why the media is not allowed to print any story from us telling the truth about where our son was shot. We have requested a public apology from Ian Leavers that he correct the allegations he made on the day of the shooting and we did not even receive the courtesy of a reply let alone a public apology correcting the information he gave which tainted the evidence right from word go.

15) We also want to know why we were told by the ethical standards that a Coronial hearing was scheduled to commence within 2 weeks and we would receive a letter from the Coroner’s Office about this. This was at least 4 weeks ago and when we questioned the Ethical Standards as to what was happening their reply was that the Coroner’s office must have changed their mind.

16) Crystal Sinn the only eye witness to the event was not originally given the opportunity to do a walkthrough of the shooting. It wasn’t until I pushed for it that it finally occurred recently. Crystal is yet to receive a copy of her statement from the Police from the 1st interview following the shooting, a copy of the DVD of the walk through or a copy of her children’s statements that were taken whilst in her care that she was not allowed to be present at.

17) Was the walk through of Crystal Sinn investigated and included in the evidence? Has the investigation been closed or is it still ongoing?

18) I was called into Police Headquarters to view some more evidence which included bits and pieces of all sorts of things including some text messages sent from Krystal Sinn’s phone threatening Jason, parts of the shooting officers walk through, parts of forensic evidence, the toy replica pistol and parts of the 000 phone call. I walked away from this meeting with the definite knowledge that they had made their mind up that she was a liar and couldn’t understand why she was lying. The belief I now have is that the Ethical Standards unit have formed a conclusion without a thorough investigation. I am not happy to sit on this, I am prepared to accept the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

19) Why is it that we have still heard nothing about the toxicology report? Have the results been received? We were told from the ethical standards that they were drawing to a close on their investigation and we would be entitled to a full brief of evidence and yet your office has stated that we will not receive this until the coronial inquest which could be 12 months away. A timely process which gives us no closure and no answers. The facts get forgotten, witnesses clarity becomes unclear and 2 qld police officers remain on full duty after possibly murdering our son.


Stephen Protheroe


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.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Police shooting in Sydney to be probed

Another panicky dickless Tracy and an attempt to cover up for her. Female police should not be given guns

THE fatal shooting of a mentally ill man by a NSW police officer and whether police tried to cover up the facts will be the focus of a public hearing in Sydney.

Adam Salter, a 36-year-old web designer and enthusiastic rock climber, was shot in the back by Sergeant Sherree Bissett at close range as he stabbed himself in the throat on November 18, 2009.

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) has been investigating Mr Salter's death and the police investigations that followed.

A public hearing into the case begins on Monday.

Statements to the media by NSW police are being scrutinised as part of the probe which will examine whether accounts given by police about Mr Salter's death were accurate and truthful.

Emergency services were called to the Lakemba home of Mr Salter's father Adrian Salter in southwestern Sydney after reports that Mr Salter, who had a history of depression, psychosis and schizophrenia, was harming himself.

During the incident, Sgt Bissett, one of four officers at the scene, rushed into the kitchen and yelled, "Taser, Taser, Taser", before firing the fatal shot.

Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell in October 2011 found there was "real doubt" the shooting was justified and labelled the police intervention at the home an "utter failure".

Police reports after the shooting were "most unsatisfactory", "potentially misleading" and contained a "false version of events", he found.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Qld. cops deny 'setting up' honest detective

SENIOR police have denied trying to "set up" an officer on stalking charges as a payback after he blew the whistle on alleged misconduct.

Police launched two internal investigations into former Burleigh Heads detective David Whyte, conducted covert surveillance at his home and charged him with stalking and assaulting his neighbours. A jury took less than 30 minutes to acquit him of the charges in 2010.

Mr Whyte is now suing for compensation for psychological injuries he claims to have suffered as a result of workplace bullying and harassment. He left the police service after reporting allegations including the use of illegal search warrants at Burleigh Heads CIB.

Yesterday, in a hearing at Southport Magistrates Court, he grilled senior police about the stalking investigation.

Current Burleigh Heads CIB boss and former Ethical Standards Command officer Brian Swan, who conducted two internal investigations into Mr Whyte, denied they were triggered because the former officer had "blown the whistle" and launched a WorkCover claim.

Another former ESC officer, Inspector Stephen Dabinett, said he was directed by a superior to investigate a stalking complaint against Mr Whyte while on duty at the 2006 Schoolies Festival.

Insp Dabinett said a covert surveillance operation was launched on Mr Whyte's Kirra unit complex with the help of one of his neighbours, an alleged stalking victim. But Mr Whyte disturbed the operation and confronted Insp Dabinett on the property.

Insp Dabinett admitted he refused to identify himself and told Mr Whyte to "f--- off". But he said this was because Mr Whyte knew he and an ESC colleague were police officers.

Mr Whyte: "You were very rude and aggressive towards me."

Insp Dabinett: "No, I don't think I was."

Mr Whyte suggested the ESC officers were at his home for an "improper purpose ... to try and set me up".

"No," Insp Dabinett replied.

The hearing continues, with more senior police set to give evidence next week.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Former Qld. cops gives evidence on illegal warrants and bullying in police force

A PROSTITUTION taskforce was shut down after investigating a state government minister who was allegedly using Gold Coast call girls, a court has been told.

Veteran former Coast police officer Al Colefax made the claim yesterday at a hearing into allegations of bullying and harassment in the Queensland Police Service.

Former Burleigh Heads detective David Whyte is suing workers compensation body Q-Comp for psychological injuries he claims to have suffered as a result of "entrenched maladministration, workplace harassment and nepotism".

Mr Colefax, who served in the QPS for 26 years before being medically retired in 2007, backed Mr Whyte's allegations of unlawful search warrants being used at the Burleigh Heads CIB.

He told Southport Magistrates Court he did not report his concerns because of an experience in the 1990s when he notified superiors that a government minister's name had come up as a "regular client" of prostitutes.

Mr Colefax said no action was taken and the "very successful" anti-prostitution squad he headed was abruptly disbanded.

Two serving police officers also gave evidence in support of Mr Whyte's claim against Q-Comp. Former Burleigh Heads detectives John Laws and Kevin Tudor said they were forcibly transferred out of the branch office after clashing with superiors.

Senior-Constable Laws said false disciplinary charges were levelled against him and he was sent to a uniform job at Mudgeeraba after he raised allegations of bullying, favouritism and illegal search warrants.

Grilled by Q-Comp barrister John Dwyer about why he did not report his concerns, Sen-Constable Laws said he had "a career to protect" and there was "substantial risk" in speaking out.

"Put simply, you make a complaint with the QPS and you paint a target on your back," he told the court.

"The culture of the QPS is such that you would wind up ostracised and generally run out of the place."

The hearing heard that after Mr Whyte complained to the CMC in November 2006, Burleigh Heads detectives were called in by senior officers and asked what they knew.

Sen-Constable Laws said a senior officer rang him to tell him that Mr Whyte had "gone bad" and "lost the plot" and wanting to know where Whyte's service pistol was.

While service pistols were sometimes confiscated from officers who went on sick leave, Sen-Constable Laws said, he had also seen this done to "humiliate" them.

The hearing was told that the CMC had been unable to substantiate misconduct allegations raised by Mr Whyte but had identified procedural and management issues.

Why is Constable Anthony Francis still a police officer?

A POLICE officer, who epitomises the model of bad behaviour the Queensland Police Service says it wants to root out, has managed to keep his job.

One of the main culprits exposed in an investigation into officer misconduct on the Gold Coast continues to serve after an internal investigation substantiated most of the allegations against him.

The decision has prompted an appeal by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) and comes as the Newman Government stalls reforms to the police disciplinary process to make way for another review on the eve of the appointment of a new Police Commissioner.

Constable Anthony Richard Francis was one of several officers identified during the 2009-2010 Operation Tesco and was found guilty of improper access to and disclosure of confidential police information, several conflicts of interest, failing to report misconduct by another officer and urinating on a police vehicle he was using as a "blue light taxi" after a boozy night out.

One conflict of interest involving Constable Francis came when he investigated a break and enter of his own house.

Constable Francis was also found guilty of victimisation by giving a "secret Santa" gift to a colleague a can of dog food and a dog bowl.

The term "dog" has been used in the QPS to describe someone who reports suspected misconduct by their colleagues.

An investigation found Constable Francis also colluded with another police officer who has since quit, during Tesco hearings and was the recipient of a text message from her inviting him for a "quiet snort".

But allegations they used cocaine were not substantiated.

The CMC said disciplinary action against Constable Francis, who has since been transferred to Logan uniform branch after being suspended and having his pay docked, was "inadequate and failed to achieve the objectives of the disciplinary process", according to documents lodged in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

It also objected to Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett's decision to reduce the sanction by taking into account "environmental factors of the Gold Coast District" because of Constable Francis' associations with people involved in the Gold Coast nightclub industry.

Mr Barnett, who is one of five applicants shortlisted to succeed Commissioner Bob Atkinson, said circumstances surrounding these matters "mitigate the need to impose the ultimate sanction".

Two police officers identified by the CMC during Operation Tesco have since resigned but Constable Francis was the only one to face disciplinary action.

Another three officers had matters addressed through "management action".


Offences committed by Constable Anthony Richard Francis, formerly of Burleigh Heads CIB

1. Collusion

After Francis received a text message from another police officer (who has since quit) which read: "Hey babe, Just hopping into bed now, can't sleep, wish you were here, would love to have a chat a little giggle and a quiet snort (i probably shouldn't write that in a txt should i!) Hope ur enjoying yourself stay safe sweetie xxx", the couple were overheard discussing the Operation Tesco hearings and the need to get their stories straight. In particular, Francis was heard saying: "Just make sure you snort when you laugh from now on." Allegations of drug use were not substantiated.

2. Conflict of interest

As a recipient of free drinks from a Gold Coast nightclub entrepreneur, Francis then showed favouritism towards the man when his limousine was reported stolen. Despite inquiries revealing the vehicle was the subject of a civil dispute between the man and a third party who leased it, Francis entered a crime report stating the vehicle was "stolen" and returned it.

According to QPS document filed in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), Francis returned the vehicle to the nightclub owner "without complying with Service policy relating to disputed property". Francis was the arresting officer during a raid of a suspected offender as part of the investigation into a break and enter at his own home.

3. Victimisation of another officer

Gave an officer he believed had dobbed on him a can of dog food and dog bowl as a "secret Santa" gift.

4. Public nuisance

Urinated on the back of a police car he was using for his private use after a boozy night out.

5. Misuse of police resources

Took an unmarked police vehicle and collected a female friend and her mother from the airport.

6. Failed to report the suspected misconduct of another officer

7. Improper access to and disclosure of police information

Included checks on his girlfriend at the time, her stepfather and mother; other police officers, including one who had the foresight to have his personal information removed for fear of retribution from criminals he was investigating; a former girlfriend and her sister; and a woman he met at a nightclub after a one-night stand.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reform need for police behaving badly

TENSIONS between the state crimefighting bodies over how to discipline wayward police are bubbling again on the eve of the appointment of a new Police Commissioner.

The Newman Government has reopened Queensland Police Service's internal disciplinary review, scrapping recommendations from the previous government despite concern not enough is being done to improve bad behaviour.

It comes as the Crime and Misconduct Commission slams a decision by one of the candidates for commissioner, Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett, for being too soft on the main culprit exposed during Operation Tesco - the investigation into criminal and improper activities involving Gold Coast police.

Other concerns have been raised by police afraid to dob in their colleagues because traditionally they're labelled "dogs", with one saying he feared for his life as a result.

CMC Assistant Commissioner Misconduct Warren Strange said progress had been made since Tesco but they were now waiting for the Government to decide how issues could be addressed. "The new Government is now going to consider its direction on these issues," he said.

He said reform needed to be ongoing and expected the new commissioner to have a commitment to the higher standards of professional conduct, but didn't expect the two organisations to always get along.

"We are never going to agree on everything, we will have different views about issues at times, different views about particular cases and outcomes and actions that should result, but I think that's healthy," Mr Strange said.

Under the previous government reforms, QPS would be banned from investigating its own officers, investigation timeframes would be shorter and the CMC would have the power to change disciplinary decisions by the QPS if they deemed them too lenient.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said he has already had positive discussions with the Government, the CMC and the police service hierarchy about a way forward.

"Neither the police, the CMC, nor the public have faith in the current police disciplinary system," he said. "I believe we are on the cusp of achieving a better model."

Mr Leavers said the appointment of Commissioner Bob Atkinson's successor was crucial to ensure they maintained the momentum for change.

Almost half of complaints to the CMC are about police officers and in the 2011-12 financial year, 2305 involving more than 6000 allegations were received - a 5 per cent reduction on the year before.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey said the Government wanted to find "balance" to the discipline process.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Damning video shows NSW cops assaulting prisoner

A NSW magistrate has released damning security footage that reveals three police officers violently assaulting a young man following his arrest in Ballina, on the NSW north coast.

The graphic video, recorded on closed circuit television cameras at Ballina police station, can be published by the Herald after lawyers for the three officers confirmed they would not contest its release.

The trio, who are on restricted duties at Ballina, have today been spared a referral to the Supreme Court for lying under oath about their actions.

However, in announcing that decision, magistrate David Heilpern said the Police Integrity Commission had launched a full corruption investigation into the incident.

Ballina Local Court had previously heard the case of Corey Barker, who allegedly threw a plastic bottle at police and then resisted arrest during an altercation on January 14 last year.

When Mr Barker was taken to the local police station, officers claimed he yelled and was disruptive in the dock, prompting them to move him to the rear cells.

The officers said that, when they tried to move the 22-year-old, he allegedly assaulted a senior constable, David Hill, punching him in the face and flailing his arms around in a bid to break free. Senior Constable Hill said video tapes of the incident were damaged and could not be used.

However, when the damaged tapes were obtained by the police prosecutor and repaired during Mr Barker's assault hearing, they showed there was no assault. In fact, it appeared the situation was the complete opposite.

The video shows another police officer, Senior Constable Ryan Eckersley, kicking Mr Barker in the head region while he was on the ground, and a third officer, Lee Walmsley, kneeing him in the side.

In a judgment handed down last month, Mr Heilpern said: "It was crystal clear that the defendant at no time punched Senior Constable Hill in the nose as described."

He found senior constables Hill and Eckersley had colluded before giving evidence to the court, and that the former had then lied under oath in an effort to cover it up.

Mr Heilpern said the incident had "debased the administration of justice". "It is hard to imagine a clearer example of bad faith than initiating proceedings on the basis of an allegation of an assault that simply did not occur," he said.

He said the damage to the CCTV footage was "suspicious".

"It beggars belief that the video just happened to be unavailable for that incident. The problem is not recorded in the [police] register, despite Senior Constable Hill saying that it was."

The magistrate found that, even when shown the footage, the officer "refused to accept that what was depicted was what had occurred". "It was as though there were two parallel universes in court: the imaginary one of Senior Constable Hill, and the real one that the rest of us - including the prosecutor - could see," the magistrate said.

Senior Constable Eckersley continued to claim he had not kicked Mr Barker in the head.

Mr Barker was left handcuffed for more than an hour.

The case was thrown out in February, and in early July Mr Heilpern ordered police to pay $30,000 to cover Mr Barker's legal costs.

A spokeswoman for the PIC told the Herald: "The commission is giving the complaint serious consideration." [Good of them!]