Thug cop's $28 a week speeding penalty labelled a joke
Eaton is notorious
A SENIOR traffic officer clocked driving at 223km/h on the Bruce Highway north of Brisbane last year will have his pay docked by about $28 a week as punishment.
Senior Sergeant Bryan Eaton, the officer in charge of Pine Rivers District traffic branch, recorded the breakneck speed while chasing a motorcyclist on the night of August 22 last year. He was initially stood down from his post but was reinstated last December while a disciplinary investigation was carried out.
Assistant Commissioner Ross Barnett conducted a hearing with Sen-Sgt Eaton on March 10, and yesterday handed down his penalty - a single pay point reduction for 12 months. The punishment amounts to a loss of about $1500.
Under Queensland law, drivers caught travelling at 40km/h or more above the speed limit face a $933 fine, eight demerit points and an automatic six-month licence suspension.
The Crime and Misconduct Commission said it was yet to be notified of the decision relating to Sen-Sgt Eaton. "If we have concerns we can choose to take various courses of action," a CMC spokeswoman said. [None at all, you can bet]
In May 2003 Sen-Sgt Eaton was involved in a disastrous police pursuit near Coen in far north Queensland. Andrew Hill, 33, and Alan Toohey, 49, died when a police four-wheel-drive landed on top of their unregistered utility during the chase on dirt roads.
Despite the coroner's finding that Sen-Sgt Eaton had "driven in a dangerous manner with little regard for the safety of the occupants of the car he was chasing", he was not charged.
Relatives of the men killed in the 2003 chase said yesterday the latest decision was "typical". "To me it's just a joke. It suggests the whole disciplinary system is laughable," widow Cami Hill said. "What does it say to the average Joe out there when the police officer-in-charge can go out and do more than twice the legal speed limit and still be employed as a policeman?"
Maryanne Toohey said she was enraged by the decision. Her son Bram, 21, agreed. "If he was any ordinary person he'd be put away," said Mr Toohey, who was just 14 when his father was killed. "There seems to be one law for him and another for everyone else."
Last week, another police officer was given a notice to appear for dangerous driving following an incident on December 20, 2009.