Thursday, January 31, 2019

Victoria Police makes big payout in brutality case

Victoria Police have made a confidential payout of more than $500,000 to settle a case involving an ex-policewoman who was handcuffed, stripped of her underwear, stomped on and kicked by fellow officers in a police station.

The biggest disgrace is that it took so long to get to this result. Police are very protective of their own -- even when they are in the wrong

The confidential payment was made more than two years after police initially and wrongly declared that there was insufficient evidence to charge police who allegedly assaulted Yvonne Berry.

The payment is one the highest made in Victoria to settle a brutality case, lawyers said, and comes after a policeman was convicted late last year for assaulting Ms Berry.

Since the initial incorrect finding that police had no case to answer was issued in early 2016 by a senior internal affairs officer, Ms Berry's ordeal has served as a case study for those calling for reform of Victoria’s police complaint system.

The system faced fresh scrutiny last week after The Age exposed several other brutality cases, which included complaints from alleged victims about the difficulty of making a complaint—and the fear of being improperly charged-- and concern that the complaint system is biased.

Ms Berry endured these same fears even though she had spent several years working as an internal affairs officer inside the police complaints system.

In a previous interview with The Age, she described the trauma of being charged with resisting arrest after her brutality complaint was dismissed.

Her charges were quietly withdrawn and her police brutality complaint revived after the intervention of Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission in 2016.

The revelation of Ms Berry’s payout comes with growing calls from legal groups, academics and a joint parliamentary committee about the need to overhaul the police complaints system by ensuring IBAC investigates more of the serious complaints issued against police.

Currently, IBAC mostly performs an auditing function that involves reviewing the police handling of complaints. It investigates only the most serious of cases.

Legal groups said the minister responsible for IBAC, Gavin Jennings, has been receptive to calls for change and supported the work of the parliamentary committee.

The Andrews government is yet to unveil what, if any, reforms it will introduce but is facing growing community concern that the force has proven itself incapable of effective self-regulation.

Several police brutality scandals, the informer 3838 affair - set to be the subject of a royal commission- and the resignation of disgraced internal affairs chief Brett Guerin, have all raised questions about the ability of the force to investigate itself.

In addition to Ms Berry’s payout - believed to be $470,000 in personal compensation and an additional $50,000 in legal fees - policeman Steven Repac was in November found guilty by a jury of assaulting Ms Berry.

Ms Berry declined to comment on her payout, saying she was bound by a confidentiality clause. She has previously said she initially had no choice but to sue the police force after she was told no officers would be held to account for her ordeal in the Ballarat police cells.

Ms Berry, who had mental health problems due to her work as an internal affairs officer and dealing with the horrific aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, was arrested on January 15, 2015 after she was found drunk and incoherent by a Ballarat resident.

In the early stages of her 16 hours in police custody, the CCTV recorded her in a police cell attempting to use a broken drinking fountain before gesturing to the camera for water. She then drank from the cell's toilet.

After becoming agitated and demanding a blanket, her cell door was opened and Ms Berry pushed past, swiping an officer's lanyard. After being handcuffed, Ms Berry was then dragged on the floor to a cell. A male officer pulled down her underwear, apparently searching for the missing lanyard.

Senior Constable Repac then stood on Ms Berry's feet and ankles. Next, he stomped on her ankle and was also filmed kicking Ms Berry. When Ms Berry later told her story to The Age, she described being “stressed, demoralised, and thinking I'm in Guantanamo Bay. This isn't Ballarat ... it can't be".

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

When the police are useless: White youths armed with baseball bats confront African teens after a train station mugging

A gang of white youths armed with baseball bats have allegedly targeted a group of African teenagers as part of a revenge attack for an earlier bashing.

The two groups clashed at Wyndham Vale train station, in Melbourne's south-west, on Monday afternoon despite the presence of a cameraman. The stand-off, witnessed by The Herald Sun, reportedly involved two feuding groups of young men but did not result in violence.

It's understood the teenagers were searching for a gang of 30 African youths who allegedly beat and then robbed two teenagers on Sunday.

According to a witness who watched the ugly confrontation unfold, the group of boys surrounded an African youth and insisted he was involved in the earlier robbery.

He continued to deny their claims, eventually calling his friends over for backup as tensions escalated.

The two young boys who were set upon by a gang at the same station less than 24 hours earlier claimed they did nothing to warrant the attack.

Xavier, 14, and Ricky, 17, were waiting for a bus home at the station when the younger was allegedly robbed of a bank card, iPhone and $1,000 gold necklace by the gang.

While Xavier was assaulted, Ricky, who is a black belt in Taekwondo, fought back -despite one of the assailants warning him 'don't get lippy or you'll get bashed'. 'They were just saying like empty out your pockets, give us your stuff, Ricky told 9News.

Towards the end of the attack, in which both boys are believed to have sustained minor injuries, two Protection Service Officers from the station appeared in the vicinity. However, instead of immediately assisting, both Xavier and his father allege the officers refrained from trying to stop the attack and instead called the police.

Mr Ferrari, Xavier's father, has said he's since spoken to the officers where they reasoned they were outnumbered by the gang. 'I don't think it's a good enough excuse, they are trained to deal with those situations. 'I want the possessions returned, but mostly I want the people caught,' said.

Police have since released a statement defending the actions of the two officers and confirming an investigation into the attack is underway.

'The pair have approached Protective Services Officers, who were patrolling at nearby Wyndham Vale Railway Station, to report the incident. 'When this occurred, the large group of youths have split into small groups and run from the area,' the statement read.

'The PSOs, who stayed with the victims, have called for back-up and provided descriptions of the offenders for police who conducted patrols of the surrounding areas,' it concluded.

Transit Crime Investigation Unit detectives are still investigating the incident.

Police are currently looking for one suspect who has an African appearance and is thought to be aged between 14 and 16.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

NSW cops are a fragrant lot too

A former Sydney police officer is facing up to a year in jail after he took intimate images from an arrested woman's phone and sent them to fellow officers on Facebook.

Steven Albee, 29, was a senior constable working with the Nepean Police Area Command in the city's west, when he arrested the woman during a traffic stop in April 2017 after she refused a roadside drug test.

The woman was taken back to the station and to police cells.

At the time of her arrest, the woman's phone was seized and it was examined using police investigative software.

The software generated a report which showed the phone contained four private photos: three depicting the woman's genitals, and one which showed her boyfriend's torso and penis.

Albee examined the photos at the police station then uploaded two to a Facebook group chat with four other serving police officers, which they used to chat while off-duty.

The photos were seen by all four officers and Albee informed them that the photos were of the woman who was arrested and had come from her phone.

The group chat was subsequently closed.

Officers from the Professional Standards Command began investigating the incident and spoke to the arrested woman, who confirmed the photos were for private use and she did not give permission for Albee to use them.

The woman said she was "upset and embarrassed" that the photos had been seen by other people.

Her boyfriend, who confirmed his photo was also for private use, said he was "angry and upset" by the situation.

In May 2018, Albee was charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend and was suspended with pay.  In court documents, his address was given as St Mary's police station.

On Tuesday, a NSW Police spokeswoman confirmed Albee is no longer employed by the organisation. It is understood his employment ceased in late 2018.

Albee briefly faced Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty and did not speak as he left the court with a man and a woman.

He faces a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment, a fine of $12,600, or both.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


They are a disgrace. The won't touch you if you are a Muslim but all others are fair game. Three current reports below

Violent assault of a disability pensioner by a senior police officer inside a station

And despite all the fine words from the police about the case, he was not fired!

Footage has emerged of the violent moment a disability pensioner was assaulted by a senior police officer inside a station.

Despite damning CCTV vision, senior constable Michael Cooke managed to retain his position within Victoria Police and avoided conviction following the attack.

He was suspended with pay for 12 months as police conducted an internal investigation, the ABC revealed.

Pensioner Phil Dickson, who was 62 at the time of the attack, initially thought his broken knuckles and torn ligament in his shoulder were the results of a drunken fall. 

'I could have been dead and I'm sure nobody would have asked, "Is there any CCTV footage about that?",' he told the ABC.  

He was being held inside the station after being arrested for drink driving and assaulting a police officer, charges he later pleaded guilty to. 

Medical records from the night of January 11, 2013, revealed Dickson had hit his head after being physically restrained inside his cell for being too intoxicated. 

But Legal Aid fought for access to CCTV footage due to the extent of Mr Dickson's injuries. The video showed constable Cooke grabbing Mr Dickson by the scruff of his neck before throwing him to the ground. He was also made to remove his belt from his pants, causing them to fall to the floor. 

Blood spatters were visible on the floor and paramedics were called.

Cooke was charged with common law assault in 2015 and pleaded guilty at Geelong Magistrates' Court. He was fined $500 and placed on a 12 month good behaviour bond without conviction. 

Following the verdict, Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia an internal investigation was also conducted and he was charged with a discipline offence relating to the assault. 

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said they do not condone Cooke's actions. 'The community has every right to expect to be treated in a fair and professional manner when dealing with police. In the 2013 incident, this clearly did not happen,' she said. 'Make no mistake, this is not the manner in which we expect our officers to behave. We do not condone violence.'

'That is why the incident was thoroughly investigated by Professional Standards Command and the officer was charged with the criminal offence of recklessly cause injury.    

The spokesperson said there was 'no doubt the CCTV footage was confronting', but stressed it was important to consider a range of factors before 'making a decision about an officer's ongoing employment.'   

'After considering all of these matters a 12-month good behaviour bond, in line with the court decision, was determined appropriate internal disciplinary action.'

The officer resigned from Victoria Police in January 2018.

'The community should be assured that Victoria Police is committed to continually improving our internal processes for investigating complaints against its officers.'

'Since 2013 a number of new processes have been introduced, including an independent hearing officer (non-Victoria Police) overseeing all internal disciplinary matters and IBAC oversights complaints investigated by Victoria Police.' 

<a href="">SOURCE</a>  

Arrested for someone else’s crime, a teen was left badly injured by the police

After police issued a suspect alert for an Aboriginal man who'd stolen a car, 18-year-old indigenous man Tommy Lovett - who was on his way to his grandma's house - was wrongly arrested. By the time his mother found out, Tommy was in hospital.

Even before the skinny Indigenous teenager was handcuffed and hurled into a fence, at least six police officers were worried an innocent man had been arrested.

The man wanted for stealing a vehicle and ramming it into a police car was, according to a description issued over police radio, a 40-year-old Aboriginal with a goatee.

The teenager splayed out on a pavement in Heidelberg on the morning of April 5, 2016, was also dark skinned. But he was only 18, with a baby face and no facial hair. Tommy Lovett had also committed no crime – moments before his arrest he had been riding his scooter to his grandma’s house.

But by the time officers were directed to continue the search for the actual suspect, Lovett’s body was bruised, grazed and bleeding. A neighbour would later recall hearing him quietly sobbing on the footpath.

Within hours, his mother, Doreen, would allege her son’s arrest was the result of racism and that he had been treated brutally by detectives. Police vehemently denied the claims and an internal investigation found nothing wrong with Lovett’s arrest.

Yet The Age has uncovered diary notes and statements from officers at the scene that raise serious questions about the official police version of events and Lovett’s handling by detectives. Among the files is a hand-scrawled diary note by a policeman who observed Lovett’s treatment and described the incident as “disturbing to say the least".

Lovett’s case, along with several others uncovered by a joint Age-7.30 Report investigation, is set to reignite the debate about whether Victoria Police is capable of investigating its own. Also under scrutiny is the Andrews government’s delay in introducing police oversight reforms backed by a joint parliamentary committee, the state’s police watchdog and much of Victoria’s legal sector.

Doreen Lovett knew something was terribly wrong when police told her that her son Tommy had been arrested but was not in a police cell. He was in hospital.

Ms Lovett, a local Indigenous leader in Melbourne who works in Victoria’s criminal justice sector, raced to the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg to discover her son shaken and in pain. A doctor’s report of his injuries describes deep bruising and cuts over his body, swelling and abrasions on his forehead and prominent welts surrounding his eyes and cheeks. A gash on Lovett’s wrist had to be stitched up.

Lovett told his mother he had been scooting towards his grandma’s house when a plain-clothes detective emerged from the home and barked at Lovett to stop.

Lovett says the detective had a reputation among the local Indigenous community as a policeman to be avoided, so he scooted around the corner towards a police van and two uniform officers. They were searching for the 40-year-old, goatee-wearing suspect.

In a statement written after the incident, one of the policemen in the van, Constable K, describes Lovett seeking help from police.

“He stopped slightly behind our vehicle and in a loud voice asked if we can take him back to his … grandma's," K wrote. “The male that stopped appeared to be young, of Aboriginal descent and looked somewhat distressed."

From a distance of about 50 metres, the plain-clothes detective yelled at the uniform officers to arrest Lovett. He would later insist he believed Lovett was the wanted car thief and he had visited Lovett’s grandma’s house because it was frequented by men who fitted the suspect's description.

Other police officers were not so certain. Five other officers who attended the scene later wrote that they believed Lovett was “not the offender we were looking for". A sixth policeman, who handcuffed Lovett, later wrote that he “was not sure why I was being directed to arrest this male as he did not match the description for the offender".

Lovett was also confused. As he was cuffed, he asked why he was being detained. He also remembers being scared, especially as the first detective raced towards him. Lovett feared a beating.

Constable K wrote in his statement that Lovett was initially “not aggressive" but became “agitated due to the handcuffs", which were cutting into his wrist.

The arrival of the plain-clothes detective also prompted a reaction in Lovett. He “became very resistive once the detective came up to him and targeted his head and neck. The detective had put his right arm into the jaw/neck area of the male and virtually took over from [the second arresting officer] Senior Constable R."

Soon, two more plain-clothes detectives arrived at the scene, crowding over Lovett, who was “screaming" about being in pain. In his statement, Constable K noted the physical disparity between Lovett and the three detectives: Lovett “was a skinny handcuffed male that myself and SC R had easily controlled before".

Lovett’s insulting of the first detective, said the constable, “caused a reaction".

“The detective decided to grab the young male by the upper part of the body and do something I’m not sure what. As a result the male’s head was pushed into the timber plank and then further down towards the ground at which stage the two other detectives decided to engage and assist the detective. I did not see how or if the young male resisted in any way and did not see it necessary in any way to use force."

K’s colleague, Constable R, said in his statement that after Lovett “called the detective an idiot … the detective … then picked [Lovett] up by his upper body and with the aid of both other detectives, threw [Lovett] into a brown wooden fence". (A third policeman wrote an almost identical description of Lovett being thrown into a fence in his own statement.)

In the first detective’s statement, he justifies Lovett’s handling after he was handcuffed because of what he claimed was the 18-year-old's “potential for violence" (Lovett had previously been charged by police for assault but has never been convicted for any crime.)

All three detectives described Lovett in their own statements as acting violently and spitting at them near the end of his ordeal, which led to Lovett being capsicum sprayed. Lovett admits spitting, but claims he did so because his mouth was filled with blood.

He also alleges further humiliation – a policeman using water from a dog bowl to wash the capsicum spray from his face. (A police spokesperson said it was not known if police “put the water into a bowl to provide this after-care".)

Next, Lovett was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting police. For months, the arrest and the charges loomed over Lovett. Doreen Lovett recalls her son withdrawing. “He stopped going out," she says softly. “And he stopped smiling."

Lovett might have been convicted if his Aboriginal Legal Service lawyer didn’t press police to hand over the diary entries and statements from all of the police at the scene. At first, police stalled in doing so. Then, unexpectedly in early 2017 after a magistrate ordered police to produce all files about the arrest, police told Lovett his charges would be withdrawn.

The teenager, who had been arrested for someone else’s crime only to face possible jail time for allegedly assaulting police, was suddenly told he had no case to answer. 

Doctor says she was assaulted by police while trying to assist injured man

A Melbourne doctor has alleged police assaulted her after she sought to help a barely conscious and bleeding man who was surrounded by officers in April 2018 — and that they then covered up the brutality.

Kim Proudlove, a stepmother of three who specialises in helping people with brain injuries, has spoken publicly about her ordeal and frustration with the Victoria Police complaints system.

Dr Proudlove does not fit the profile of the Victorians most likely to report an adverse experience with police — vulnerable or marginalised people less able to navigate the police complaint system.

She is an experienced doctor with a track record of helping people in need, including a cyclist and pedestrian badly injured in traffic accidents.

But when she tried to help a bleeding and apparently unconscious man surrounded by police, Dr Proudlove has alleged she was subjected to police brutality; after she filmed some of the alleged assault on her phone, she says police deleted it; and after she complained to police internal affairs, she was told by police they were considering charging her with resisting arrest.

Dr Proudlove's story is striking for another reason — her alleged assault occurred just 19 days after a major police brutality scandal was exposed.

In April 2018, 7.30 and The Age revealed explosive CCTV vision of police allegedly assaulting a Melbourne disability pensioner during a mental health welfare check.

That scandal prompted the charging of several officers along with widespread calls for reform of the police complaints system, calls that were later backed by a Victorian parliamentary committee.

Dr Proudlove's confrontation with police began just after 9:00pm on April 22 in Flinders Lane in Melbourne's CBD, after she noticed a man lying in the foetal position in a doorway, bleeding and barely conscious.

Within minutes, it would be Dr Proudlove who was bleeding.

She told 7.30 and The Age she approached the police surrounding the bleeding man and introduced herself as a doctor able to provide aid. "I was very concerned by the large pool of fresh blood, and that no-one was attending to him," she said.

She says police told her to go away, that an ambulance had been called and that the man's injuries were self-inflicted.

"I told them regardless of it being self-inflicted, the bleeding should be stopped with basic first aid while waiting for an ambulance. He wasn't moving and wasn't talking," she said.

Dr Proudlove said after she insisted the man needed help, police officers shoved her against a wall. After she began filming the police on her mobile phone, she says one of the officers attacked her.

"There was an older policeman that came towards me, violently threw me to the ground, put my hands behind my back, and repeatedly punched me in the head," she said.

"I kept asking them to stop and told them that they were hurting me. "I had a police officer put his weight into the back of my knee, which also was very painful.

"They handcuffed me then picked me up and took me to a police van and put me in the back."

Police confiscated her phone but returned it to her in the back of the van, where Dr Proudlove discovered that video she had recorded had been deleted.

After officers dropped her home in a police van, Dr Proudlove's husband raced her to hospital.

"My right ear needed tissue glue to close the wounds, I had a swollen and bruised lip, I had a bump on my head, my knee was extremely sore causing me to limp, and I had multiple other bruises and abrasions all over my body … I was also in shock," she said.

Medical scans confirmed that Dr Proudlove's knee was badly damaged. She had suffered a tibial plateau fracture and ACL rupture.

Dr Proudlove complained to the Police Standards Command about her treatment within hours of her ordeal. After this, she was told she was under criminal investigation for resisting arrest and may face serious charges.

In December, police told Dr Proudlove she would not be prosecuted.

In a statement, a police spokesperson said the case was subject to "an active Professional Standards Command investigation".

"The Senior Constable and Sergeant involved in the alleged incident have been transferred to other duties while the investigation is taking place," the statement said.

"We are unable to provide any further information as the investigation is ongoing."

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Police officers slammed after being caught issuing more than 250,000 fake breath tests over five years

This is a bit hard to follow but it appears that they were reporting tests that they did not carry out

An inquiry has slammed Victoria Police for a 'lack of ethics' in a damning new independent review into fake breath-testing.

The inquiry was launched last year after an internal investigation revealed officers had faked 258,463 breath tests over a five-and-half year period.

Retired police commissioner Neil Comrie released the findings of his independent review Taskforce Deliver on Tuesday, which described the rort as 'completely unacceptable' and an 'ethical failure', the Herald Sun reported.

Senior police instructed new recruits to carry out falsified breath tests, according to the review findings.

'It has been a common experience for new recruits to be inducted into the practice early in their careers through instruction from more experienced members,' the report stated.

The report also found that police manipulated breath test devices to boost the number of tests conducted.

A statewide directive was issued in 2017 to increase preliminary breath tests from 3.2 million conducted the previous year to 4.5 million.

The directive was criticised in the report which said it was 'not based on any credible scientific evidence and was based on the number of 'Victorian licence holders at the time.

The report said there was no suggestion any drivers had been wrongly prosecuted and that there was no evidence to suggest the police behaviour was criminal, the Herald Sun reported.

Tests were faked because of the burden of unrealistic quotas for statistical purposes, according to Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt.

“When it becomes more important to meet quotas than to catch drink drivers, the system needs recalibrating,’ he told The Age.

Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane welcomed the findings and said all 23 recommendations would be adopted.

The state government plans to work with Victoria Police to ensure it doesn't happen again.

'It is extremely disappointing and unacceptable that it happened in the first place – it's wrong, it's a breach of trust, and it won't be tolerated,' police minister Lisa Neville said.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

An incredibly crooked cop

How did she think she could get away with taking people's homes?  People tend to be strongly attached to their homes.  She's got to be a mental case

A Victorian Police officer, who the state's anti-corruption watchdog alleges used her police connections to attempt to take possession of six properties, has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

Court documents allege she went to one council office in her police uniform to get details of a property's owner

Rosa Catherine Rossi, from the Geelong suburb of Corio, has been charged with 20 separate offences by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

They include deceptively and dishonestly trying to gain property, fraudulently claiming welfare payments, stealing, accessing the police database for her own gain, and falsifying documents.

Documents from the court allege she tried to claim ownership of three rural properties in the Western District as well as three suburban Melbourne properties in Chadstone, Malvern East and Brooklyn.

At Willaura, south of Ararat, she is alleged to have targeted the owners of three homes, changing the locks on the properties and submitting false change-of-address documents to the Ararat Rural City Council.

Ms Rossi is also charged with providing false documents in order to secure a loan with the Commonwealth Bank for a property in the town.

Deceased estate claim

At Malvern East, IBAC alleges Ms Rossi told a locksmith the property was a deceased estate in order to convince them to change the locks.

Court documents allege she went to the police station in Footscray and looked up the name and contact details of the owner of that property on the internal LEAP database.

She also lodged a false change-of-address form to the Stonnington City Council, according to the charge sheets.

For the Brooklyn property, court documents claim she went to Hobson's Bay City Council in her police uniform to get details of the property's owner and also submitted a false change-of-address notice.

IBAC investigators also allege she:

set up a fake not-for-profit organisation called Sweet Georgia Pty Ltd;

falsely claimed rental assistance from Centrelink;

falsified statutory declarations about who she was and where she lived.

Ms Rossi will return to court in March

Monday, January 14, 2019

A NSW police arrest of doubtful legality and excessive force

The man had legal precedent to say he was entitled to use FVCK etc on a sign.  He should appeal the verdict and sue the cops

Sydney sandwich board activist Danny Lim has been arrested and fined for offensive behaviour.

Three police officers arrested the 74-year-old at Exchange Place in Barangaroo about 9.20am on Friday. It’s unclear what the offensive behaviour involved.

Video of the arrest shows an officer holding a sandwich board sign that reads: “SMILE CVN’T! WHY CVN’T?"

In August 2018 Lim successfully had a 2015 conviction and $500 fine for offensive conduct overturned over a sandwich board that mocked the then-prime minister Tony Abbott with a rewriting of the word “can’t".

District court Judge Andrew Scotting said it was unlikely the sign would offend the average Australian.

Witnesses to Friday’s arrest criticised police for the manner in which Lim was arrested. “I saw police officers use a completely unnecessary and unacceptable amount of force to arrest Danny for wearing a humorous sign," Christina Halm posted on Facebook.

“There was a crowd of at least 30 who had stopped in their tracks once we realised what was happening, clearly all shocked, gasping and crying at what we were seeing."

Niki Anstiss said Lim was trying to make people smile. “This is disgusting," she wrote. “I saw 3 police officers brutally rip his sign from his back and arrest him while he was screaming for them to not take his sign. He did nothing wrong."

New South Wales police declined to comment when asked about the physicality of Friday’s arrest.