Sunday, April 19, 2009

Qld. police goons again!

Recent revelations about police misbehaviour don't seem to have slowed them down any. The cop who put his knee through Mulrunji Doomadgee's liver got away with it so I guess they have reason to be confident that they can do as they like without fear of retribution

THE Police Minister has ordered a report into the alleged assault of a handcuffed man at a Gold Coast police station after viewing a video of the incident. Neil Roberts has asked Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson for a report by the end of this week after being shown the footage by The Sunday Mail on Friday.

The incident, recorded by cameras at the Surfers Paradise Police Beat office, shows a male officer forcing the 19-year-old building worker to the floor after he allegedly refused to remove his socks. The man, who has his hands cuffed behind his back, hits the floor face first and when the policeman rolls him over there is a dark patch visible on the carpet under his face.

The man's mother, who uploaded the video on YouTube, claims the incident left her son with a $30,000 dental bill for jaw fractures and seven broken teeth.

An internal investigation by the police Ethical Standards Command (ESC), watched by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, last year cleared the police officer of using excessive force.

However, the man - who asked not to be identified because he fears police persecution - is using the video of the incident, on October 6, 2007, in a personal damages claim against the Queensland Police Service.

Mr Roberts admitted that his initial response after seeing the video was "one of concern" and he had asked the commissioner for more details. "There is no sound accompanying the vision to provide context to the situation," he said in a statement to The Sunday Mail.

The 19-year-old was one of several partygoers arrested following a brawl in Orchid Ave about 10pm. He was charged with a public nuisance offence, and later with obstructing police for having failed a direction to remove his socks.

The video shows him standing at the counter of the Police Beat beside a male officer while another officer speaks to him from behind the desk. Three other men, two also handcuffed, are seated along a wall below the camera. The 19-year-old kicks off his shoes, then appears to make an attempt to remove his socks with his feet before the officer forces him to the floor. The officer rolls him over, revealing the pool of blood before rolling him back on his face and walking into the station. The man eventually struggles to a sitting position and the other men seated in the station notice the bloodstain. They jump out of their seats before being restrained by police who then escort them out of the Police Beat - over the top of the man.

Mr Roberts said his initial advice from the commissioner was that the man was injured in the Orchid Ave brawl and was bleeding and spitting blood. "The officer involved took him to the floor to better manage the situation," he said. Mr Roberts said the man's mother made a complaint of excessive force, but investigations in December last year found the claim was unsubstantiated. He said despite repeated attempts by ESC investigators to speak with the man, he had declined to make a complaint or assist with the investigation. "I am also advised that the male person pleaded guilty to a charge of public nuisance and at that time, a second charge of obstruct(ing) police was withdrawn by agreement between police and his legal adviser."

The man's mother said he could not remember the incident. "My son has been to jail before. He's not a saint. He's stolen a car, he's been in a couple of fights," she said from her Gold Coast home. After her son's court case was finalised, she posted the footage on YouTube with a message saying: "This could be your child."


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Qld. police version of an "apology"

The police brass "were happy with the actions the police took" (!!) Some apology

QUEENSLAND police have apologised to an 18-year-old man who was handcuffed after officers thought his steering wheel lock was a gun. While Chad Hastings accepted the apology yesterday, he expressed disappointment it did not come directly from the officers involved. The Zillmere teen said he received a phone call about 4pm yesterday from a senior constable in charge of the officers who handcuffed him. "He was apologising on behalf of the police commissioner," he said.

"He said they were happy with the actions the police took but they apologised for the way they handled it in the end.

"Sorry on the spot would have healed things better, instead of going through all this. I think the only reason they said sorry is because the media got involved." Mr Hastings said he would have preferred a visit from the officers involved. "It was just a phone call and not even from the people who did it, so I'm not really happy," he said. "But it's not the end of the world, I'll get over it."

Earlier in the day, Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson had promised to apologise to Mr Hastings if an investigation found the officers were in the wrong.

Mr Hastings was stopped for a routine random breath test on Milton Rd on his way to work about 5am on Thursday. While one officer breath-tested him, another checked his Nissan Skyline. Mr Hastings was then ordered to get out of the car and sit on the footpath while the officer demanded to know why there was a gun in the vehicle. Mr Hastings explained that he had no gun in his vehicle and police eventually realised what they thought was a weapon was Mr Hasting's partially-obscured steering wheel lock.

Police late yesterday said the officer involved had acted with caution by removing Mr Hastings from the car and calling for assistance. Mr Atkinson said after reviewing the incident it would be determined if additional training or policy issues needed to be addressed. [A directive to "open your eyes" might do it]


Monday, April 13, 2009

Queensland's police goons are THICK -- and rude

A YOUNG driver has demanded an apology from police after being arrested and handcuffed because an officer believed his steering wheel lock was a gun. Chad Hastings, 18, of Zillmere on Brisbane's northside, was on his way to work early on Thursday morning when he was pulled over by police on Milton Rd in the innercity. While a female officer breath-tested Mr Hastings, another officer checked his Nissan Skyline with a torch.

He was then ordered to get out of the car and sit on the footpath while the officer demanded to know why there was a gun in the vehicle. "I said, 'What the hell? I have no idea what you're talking about'," Mr Hastings said. The policeman repeated the question before handcuffing the teenager and telling him he was under arrest.

Mr Hastings tried to explain he had only recently moved to Brisbane from Coffs Harbour to play for the Redcliffe Dolphins' Colts rugby league team. "I said 'maybe someone put a gun in my car. It's an easy car to get into and I often don't lock it up and I stayed at a friend's place last night'," he said. Mr Hastings said the policeman then called for backup while he sat shaking on the footpath, wondering how a gun could be in his car.

When two senior police arrived in an unmarked vehicle the situation was quickly resolved and the handcuffs removed from Mr Hastings. "As the officer walked away he said 'get a new steering wheel lock, it looks like a bloody gun'," he said. "I was absolutely gobsmacked. I said 'are you serious? All that for a steering lock?'," he said. Mr Hastings said the officer then replied he was "a lucky boy". "He told me 'any other cop would have had you at gunpoint'."

The part-time labourer said he was shaken and dazed by the incident but he had no plans to get a new steering wheel lock. "If they'd opened the car and examined it more closely this whole thing could've been avoided," he said. "An apology would've been nice. He could've said 'sorry mate but we have to take extreme precautions'. It doesn't leave you with a very good impression."

Police yesterday released a brief statement to The Courier-Mail about the incident. "A police officer has the power to detain a person suspected of being involved in illegal activities until the necessary inquiries are made to ascertain the situation and ensure the safety of the community and police," the statement read. "This includes situations where there is suspicion a person is in possession of a firearm."

The Queensland Police Union declined to comment.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another Queensland police goon

Court told police officer bashed tourist, shoved hose in his mouth. Lucky the guy survived. Mulrunji Doomadgee didn't

A FORMER Queensland police officer allegedly bashed and kicked a handcuffed tourist unconscious before nearly drowning him by jamming a fire hose into his mouth. Former senior constable Benjamin Thomas Price, 32, yesterday faced Proserpine Court for committal on six counts of assault on three victims.

Police whistleblower Constable Bree Sonter broke down in tears as video of the alleged attack outside Airlie Beach police station was shown to the court, The Courier-Mail reports.

The emotional father of the alleged victim stunned the court as he stood and yelled: "You're a brave man Price, I hope you get a fire hose jammed up your arse in jail."

Timothy Steele, 24, a plasterer from NSW, suffered a broken nose, black eyes, a head wound, hearing problems, memory loss and lack of sensation in his arms and hands after his arrest in the popular Whitsundays tourist town on May 24 last year. He told the court he was trying to break-up a fight between two mates when he was capsicum sprayed by Sonter. It is alleged Price led the handcuffed Steele to a police car before saying "watch your head" and smashing his face into the vehicle, knocking him unconscious.

Price allegedly dragged Steele from the car outside Airlie Beach watchhouse, repeatedly punched him and "kicked him with his boots" in the face, breaking his nose.

CCTV video footage from the police station shows a dazed, heavily bleeding Steele being dragged into an alley beside the watchhouse. It shows the handcuffed man being punched in the head before having a fire hose jammed into his mouth, where it was held for up to 90 seconds as another officer watches.

Steele screams and groans in agony and blood can be seen sheeting down the concrete path as the policeman stands on the handcuffs, pressing his hand into the back of the man's neck, forcing his head into his lap in a brutal spine lock.

"I felt like I was going to drown," Steele told the court. "He jammed the hose into my mouth. I couldn't breathe. I was coughing and spluttering blood. It was pretty scary. It went on for a long time. "I called him a pussy. He knocked me about. I was pretty dazed, I'd had a boot to my face, my nose was broken. I was choking on my own blood, I felt like I was drowning."

Constable Sonter, now based at Sandgate, broke down as she told how she could hear Steele screaming for help. "I could hear Price yelling 'You like that?' and then a smack sound, it sounded like a punch, and Steele went quiet," she told the court.

The strongly built former officer, who now works as a tree-cutter, also allegedly repeatedly punched another man in the face during an argument about urinating in public. He also is accused of assaulting tourist Renee Tomms. Price, who has not yet entered a plea, is represented by Queensland Police Union barrister Steve Zillman.