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.


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