Monday, October 27, 2014

Man tasered, left quadriplegic after police house raid in West Australia

A MAN suffered horrific spinal injuries during a police raid on a house when he was tasered in the head and allegedly thrown to the ground.

Plumber Mark Ratcliff is a quadriplegic as a result of the September 4 raid in which his vertebrae were smashed, rupturing his spinal cord.  The 24-year-old has been in intensive care for more than a month and has recovered enough to talk only in the past few weeks.

Mr Ratcliff said he was asleep on the couch at a friend’s house in St James when police broke through the door. They were executing a search warrant looking for drugs.

He recalls being startled and said he ran towards the front door on instinct, but said he never made it outside because he was stopped by police and thrown to the floor.

“I remember a big bang when they kicked the door in,” Mr Ratcliff said.  “I jumped straight up to see what the fuss was – someone’s kicked the door down on my mate’s house. I wanted to know what was going on. I remember getting thrown; I don’t remember getting tasered.”

A scar on his skull and another on his hand show where the taser barbs embedded.

But Mr Ratcliff believes it was being thrown to the ground that shattered the vertebrae in his neck and ruptured his spinal cord.

In a written statement, a spokeswoman for WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callag-han said internal affairs was investigating whether the officers used excessive force.  The Corruption and Crime Commission will oversee the investigation.

The statement said officers were involved in a “struggle” with the 24-year-old.  “A taser was deployed by one of the officers and the man has fallen to the ground and received an injury to his neck,” the statement said.

On the day of his injury, police told the hospital’s emergency department staff that Mr Ratcliff had been running away with his head down.  He was tasered and head-butted the ground when he fell, resulting in the injuries.

They also told staff he may have been using drugs or alcohol, but Mr Ratcliff denies this. He said he had used drugs in the past but not on that day, and declared he “never had a criminal record”.

Mr Ratcliff has no feeling from the chest down and minimal movement in his arms. He breathes through a tracheotomy tube and requires 24-hour nursing care.  “I am grieving for my past life – it’s like losing someone; I have lost myself,” he said.

Lawyer John Hammond, who is acting for Mr Ratcliff, said he was investigating WA Police’s legal liability in relation to the incident.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Spammers: Don't bother. Irrelevant comments won't be published