Monday, December 29, 2008


NSW police goons shoot the victim and let the bad guy off

A woman who was shot by police in a unit block is seeking money and an apology from those she thought had been sent to protect her. Susie Bandera, 48, claims she was initially relieved when she saw officers had been called out to the North Parramatta address where a man was allegedly assaulting her in the early hours of December 21. "I believe he would have killed me," she said. "I was in the foetal position where he was eye-gouging me and ear-gouging me. Then I saw the police torches coming and I thought, 'Oh good, I'm safe.' "

Instead, the mother of two has a bullet wound to the chest and another police bullet lodged in her spine after it passed through her liver. Doctors have told Ms Bandera it might be too dangerous to remove the bullet. "My right leg is gone, I can't feel it," she said. "How [the bullet] missed my vital organs, I don't know."

Friends said Ms Bandera was "upset and angry" at police and would be seeking compensation and "probably an apology" from the officers involved.

Police alleged Ms Bandera threatened officers with a knife and refused to surrender the weapon after they arrived at the Iron Street units after neighbours reported a disturbance. When Ms Bandera lunged at police, they alleged, a junior female officer fired two shots. Ms Bandera claims she wasn't armed with a knife but a cocktail fork she had taken as protection as she walked an elderly, vision-impaired neighbour home after watching carols on television. On her way back, Ms Bandera had encountered a 23-year-old champion kick boxer arguing on a public phone. She said he demanded to know what she was looking at. He said he followed her to ask her why she had poked him with a fork.

Anne McCabe, 73, a resident who had just returned home from a Christmas party, said she heard a commotion on the drive leading to the units. She went out to her balcony and claims that she saw the man kicking Ms Bandera in the stomach and groin before Ms Bandera sought refuge in her foyer. "He was kicking the hell out of her," she said. "Neighbours were yelling at him to stop. He was choking, strangling her and I am standing over them yelling and yelling."

The kick boxer has denied he had assaulted Ms Bandera and has said in the media he was trying to subdue her and that he had her under control when police arrived and sprayed them both with capsicum spray.

"When I saw the police I ran towards them for help, to help me," Ms Bandera said. "And as I ran towards them she shot me, point blank." Ms Bandera said she first thought she had been hit by a stun gun but realised she had been shot when she saw the bullet casing next to her on the ground. "I thought he'd shot me. I didn't think it was the coppers," she said. Under observation in Westmead Hospital, Ms Bandera said she had been told her attacker had since gone to Queensland without charge, while she has been depicted as a "knife-wielding maniac" by police. "They didn't even get a DNA sample from him, they got one from me," she said.

A police spokesman said no comment would be made until the critical incident team finished its investigations into the shooting. But for Mrs McCabe, who said she was the prime witness and her unit the crime scene, the case was simple. In her view, when the police officer opened fire in her tiny foyer - with a bullet ricocheting into her unit to miss her by inches - she shot the wrong person. "A woman shouted out and I could hear her shouting out, 'You shot the bloody victim,"' she said. "And that's in my formal statement. The policewoman obviously shot in panic, she shot the wrong person."

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

NSW police thugs invent the law as they go along

BlackBerry seizure an 'abuse of police powers'

A MAN detained and threatened with arrest under the Terrorism Act for filming police on his mobile phone has alleged police abused their powers. Nick Holmes a Court, CEO of web-based media companies BuzzNumbers and ShiftedPixels, was walking to his home near Kings Cross in Sydney about 10pm on December 19. He told that police forcibly took his BlackBerry phone and threatened him with arrest both under the Australian Anti-Terrorism Act and for allegedly disobeying a police directive.

Mr Holmes a Court said he had started filming what looked like a search after he noticed a group of police walking down his street. "I went to one guy and asked what was going on but he told me to move along, and if I didn't they'd be able to arrest me," he said. "So I moved down the street a few hundred metres to where my apartment was, pulled out my phone and started filming."

Mr Holmes a Court said he had stopped filming before two of the police officers approached, demanding he surrender his BlackBerry mobile phone and telling him he had committed a crime if he had recorded them. "It was in my hand, and they were saying, 'Give me your phone, give me your phone,' but I just kept repeating, 'I do not consent to a search of my phone'," Mr Holmes a Court said. "It was pulled out of my hand - it wasn't me handing it over to her - and now I've got this girl looking through my phone and all my content - my contacts, photos, text messages and emails."

Mr Holmes a Court said he repeatedly complained to the police while they tampered with his phone, but was told to "shut up". "They forcefully did it in front of me, wouldn't give me my phone back until they deleted it, and just kept telling me to shut up."

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said police did not have the authority to confiscate cameras or stop people from taking pictures of them performing their duties. "It's not appropriate for the police to be stopping people taking pictures of them," Mr Cope said. "They've got no power to do that, none whatsoever, and they've got no power to confiscate cameras. "Why should they be fighting being scrutinised?"

In August this year NSW Civil Liberties Council president Cameron Murphy was responding to concerns about a similar incident where a student was arrested and pressured to delete footage of a brawl involving police when he said police could seize footage only if it was needed as part of an investigation. "There has been a steady increase in police powers to stop people, search them and move them along," Mr Murphy said. "This is very dangerous and it's the sort of thing that over time will lead to a police state."

Mr Holmes a Court went to Kings Cross police station on Boxing Day to make a complaint, but decided not to pursue it formally after a duty inspector said he would speak with the officers involved. "He said we were in fact allowed to film the police if you weren't hindering or in the way of an investigation," Mr Holmes a Court said. "He said my complaint would be logged as a verbal complaint, and he would get the media training department to come and make police aware that citizens and the media are allowed to film them."

NSW police media were aware of the incident involving Mr Holmes a Court, but would not comment because a formal complaint had not been made. News of the incident first broke when Mr Holmes a Court sent a message out on microblogging service Twitter just minutes after getting his phone back from police. "I got searched and my phone confiscated for filming a police search in kings cross, I was threatened with arrest and detainment. Police state," he said in his tweet.

Independent and mainstream media outlets began to pick up the story after freelance technology journalist Ben Grubb wrote a short article on his website and posted an audio interview with Mr Holmes a Court.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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