Saturday, March 07, 2009

Australian police goons again

Cops use Taser on a young girl who was already held down! They must think it is a punishment device and that they are judge and jury

The CMC has blasted the Queensland Police Service after an officer Tasered a teenage girl at South Bank last year. The CMC (Crime and Misconduct Commission) has accused Queensland police of failing to learn from its mistakes after an investigation into the unnecessary Taser use on a girl, 16. CMC chairman Robert Needham said there was a "concerning pattern" in the handling of critical incidents and urged Commissioner Bob Atkinson to rein in his troops.

The CMC spoke out after overseeing an internal police investigation into the use of the Taser on the girl, who failed to obey a police order at South Bank in April last year. The incident came months after The Courier-Mail revealed Police Minister Judy Spence had sidelined the service's top brass and brokered a deal with the police union to give Tasers to every frontline officer. Ms Spence's intervention came barely halfway through a 12-month trial and in the middle of the union election. Yesterday Ms Spence's office said the minister would not comment on the CMC criticism until she had read the report. "I'm not expecting it to happen today," a spokesman said.

However Ms Spence's office reversed its stance and released a statement after The Courier-Mail sought comment from Premier Anna Bligh. "The Commissioner of Police has advised me the Queensland Police Service will completely re-examine every aspect of this entire matter," Ms Spence said.

The South Bank incident was one of at least nine complaints against officers for using Tasers inappropriately. The girl, 16, had defied a move-on order and was being held down by two security guards when an officer used a Taser on her thigh.

A magistrate later ruled the officers did not give adequate directions and threw out a charge of obstructing police against the girl. Mr Needham labelled the actions "very poor policing". "The commission expected the QPS to use the incident as a learning opportunity for the officer involved and for Taser training generally, but there is no evidence to show this has occurred," he said. "My observations of QPS failure to learn from mistakes are not limited to this case." He urged Mr Atkinson to "send a strong message to all police that they must objectively assess and learn from policing incidents".

Solicitor Margaret Brain, of Slater and Gordon, said she was preparing civil action against the police on the girl's behalf. "It was a violent incident that has traumatised her," she said.

Mr Atkinson acknowledged the matter "could have been handled better" and said police would "carefully consider" issues raised by the CMC. "It's probably the most severe criticism the CMC have expressed of the Queensland Police Service for many years, and that concerns me," he said. Police Union president Cameron Pope could not be reached for comment.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

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

No comments: