A woman claiming to have witnessed a fatal Taser incident in north Queensland last week says she begged police to stop continuously zapping him with the electric stun gun moments before he died. Antonio Galeano, 39, died after being shot with a 50,000-volt Taser stun gun during a violent confrontation with police at a unit in Brandon, near Townsville last Friday. Police initially said Mr Galeano was shot three times but data recorded by the Taser showed it operated on 28 separate cycles during the confrontation.
The Australian newspaper says a post-mortem examination by pathologists found the man - had a pre-existing heart condition - died in handcuffs just 10 minutes after being shot with the Taser. A police source told brisbanetimes.com.au Mr Galeano was "talking and lucid" before he suffered the heart attack.
Brandon woman Sandra Winn - who has made a statement to the Queensland Police Ethical Standards unit - reportedly said she saw police Taser Mr Galeano seven times, and begged the officers to stop. "The police officer states that he only used that Taser ... three times," Ms Winn told The Townsville Bulletin. "He hit him through the window here, the first time, hit him in the chest. "Toni fell down, he hit the ground, I heard him."
Ms Winn declined to speak to brisbanetimes.com.au when contacted this morning, as she was on her way to Mr Galeano's funeral, to be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ayr. Mr Galeano's parents Carmelo and Agata said their son was "dearly loved". His son Blake and sister Giovanna and extended family will pay their final respects at Ayr Cemetery.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson last week said Mr Galeano, who was clutching shards of glass and an iron bar, had assaulted a woman before she ran to a nearby unit and called police. However, police have been unable to confirm how many people were in the unit at the time of the incident.
"I stood up on that chair (and looked through the window from outside) by that time they'd gone in," Ms Winn told The Townsville Bulletin. "The police officer was standing over him and going (makes Taser motions) on his back. "I was screaming (at) this window ... at the police officer stop, stop, stop you are supposed to be helping me. How many times can you hit him with that before you're going to kill him?"
Ethical Standards Command Assistant Commissioner Peter Martin said an investigation into the man's death would endeavour to compare the number of Taser "bite marks" on Mr Galeano's body with the data obtained from the Taser.
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