Taser death 'abuse of police powers'
Wed, 14 Nov 2012 6:33p.m.
By Rachel Morton
A coroner in New South Wales has labelled five police officers reckless and dangerous for Tasering a man nine times.
The man later died, and now the officers face disciplinary action.
Brazilian student Roberto Curti was high on LSD when police chased him through central Sydney. When they caught him they Tasered him nine times, and sprayed him with three cans of pepper spray.
"What eventuated was a frenzy of officers, most of them very junior and inexperienced, half of whom did not even know what Roberto was suspected of having done as they joined in the chase and behaving out of control," says NSW coroner Mary Jerram.
Curti had stolen two packets of biscuits. The coroner found although on drugs he wasn't dangerous, rather paranoid – still 11 police officers were involved in arresting him.
He died during the arrest. No definite cause of death was found, although he may have choked while being restrained face-down on the footpath.
The coroner says five officers should face disciplinary action, but for Curti's family that isn't enough.
"The family and our lawyers also believe that charges for certain criminal offences should be laid," says Curti's brother-in-law Mike Reynolds.
"We've made a formal request to pursue charges against the relevant officers."
The corner said some of the officers behaved with a pack mentality, were reckless, careless, dangerous and excessively forceful.
"Some of them did demonstrate an abuse of police powers, [and] in some instances even thuggish."
The police say they accept the findings, although they won't consider stopping the use of Tasers.
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19/11/2012 5:03:46 p.m.
did you watch 60 minutes - then you will know that he went into the convenience store FOR PROTECTION - 2 thugs were CHASING HIM - watch it and see - he was being chased before police arrived...LSD or Unknown drugs can affect a person badly - ie bad paranoia and altered states - research it....
19/11/2012 4:45:55 p.m.
A couple of years ago i was arrested and sprayed with capsicum AFTER i was handcuffed - in the van on the way to the police station the police car following me stopped and the officers laughed at my screams saying i deserved it - these were Sydney police...later i found out these had just graduated from Goulburn academy and had obviously BEEN TRAINED to do this......
17/11/2012 7:05:22 a.m.
Well said Mike
15/11/2012 12:20:18 p.m.
How disgusting, being tasered to death over a couple of packets of biscuits. I am very angry over this. I hope the family keep up the pressure over this - there should be some instant dismissals and criminal liability over this, the pack of thugs
15/11/2012 12:19:41 a.m.
Alternatively the coroner could argue that dont steal, dont take drugs, dont resist arrest, and it could save your life!If no theft was made and there was no resisting arrest, then the police would never have tasered.
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