Corrupt Queensland cops whitewash their misuse of Tasers
COMPLAINTS about Queensland police officers' alleged misuse of Tasers are routinely being investigated - and dismissed - by police. Of the 13 complaints made about Tasers since July 2007, only three have been finalised, with two of those found to be unsubstantiated.
Police also dismissed the third complaint - relating to the use of a Taser of a 16-year-old girl at South Bank - finding the constable involved had displayed sound judgment in his actions. However, the Crime and Misconduct Commission disagreed with that finding and conducted its own investigation, which resulted in harsh criticism of police "for failing to learn from their mistakes". Police are still investigating nine other complaints received about the use of Tasers, with the CMC overseeing the latest investigation into the possible Taser-related death of Antonio Galeano, 39, in north Queensland this month.
A CMC spokeswoman said the commission was generally only involved in complaints "of acomplex nature".
Family and friends of Galeano farewelled the 39-year-old yesterday in Ayr, about 5km from Brandon, where he collapsed and died shortly after his confrontation with police on Friday, June 12. Although officers involved have said he was Tasered no more than five times, data from the weapon revealed it was discharged 28 times. An autopsy has found the man suffered a heart attack, but it is not yet clear if the taser triggered that. [Would 28 rapidly repeated high voltage shocks from a Taser cause a heart attack? Nah! Just ONE shot is usually disabling. It's the goon concerned who should be shot]
The incident has prompted a four-week review of Tasers in the Queensland Police Service and temporarily halted the statewide rollout of the weapons.
Civil libertarians have called for an independent investigation into the death, but Queensland Police Union acting president Ian Leavers said investigators should be left to do their job without comment. "Only at the conclusion of all these tests will the actual cause of death be known, and only then will the actions of the officers be able to be properly assessed," Mr Leavers said.
An old, old story: Cops lying to protect fellow cops
HE WAS a friend and colleague - a fellow police officer, with whom Greg Brown was prone to have a beer. And after an inquiry by the Police Integrity Commission into alleged criminality, he is free. Brown, by contrast, is looking at jail for lying to protect him.
Gregory John Brown, a senior constable from Fairfield Police Station, was sentenced to eight months and two days protective custody yesterday for lying to the commission about plans to buy a brothel, covering up for a colleague who was later found to have done nothing wrong.
He was denied an adjournment by Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson, but immediately lodged an appeal and was granted bail unopposed. He will re-appear on August 3. After making bail, Brown refused to say whether there was an unspoken code among police - one where an officer might lie for another.
In sentencing Brown, Chief Magistrate Henson drew on the sentencing of the disgraced former judge Marcus Einfield. "As has often been said," he read from Justice Bruce James's judgment, "each of the offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice strike at the heart of the administration of justice." Being a police officer did not change this, he said. The supposed nobility of the act - of covering for a mate - made no difference.
On December 4, 2007, Brown lied five times at an Integrity Commission investigation into whether Constable Rick Perchtold was involved in criminal activity or serious police misconduct. He had been under oath. Constable Perchtold was a friend - a "professional and social acquaintance", as Chief Magistrate Henson put it - who worked with Brown at Fairfield Police Station. Brown had introduced Constable Perchtold to the brothel owner Sam Lapa at the Marconi Club. He spoke to Constable Perchtold about the latter's plans to buy a brothel.
But when questioned under oath he failed to mention any of this. It was not until the commission heard recordings of conversations he had with Constable Perchtold that Brown conceded it was not an exhaust business his friend was trying to buy. The brothel turned out to be a legal business operation.
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