Thursday, September 9, 2010

Watchdog says top cop covered up unwarranted violence by police

Is the culture of corruption becoming a little bit unglued at last?

QUEENSLAND'S crime watchdog has launched a legal challenge against a top cop who'll decide the fate of police who investigated the Palm Island death in custody. The Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) today told AAP it had filed legal action against Deputy Police Commissioner Kathy Rynders.

The challenge relates to Ms Rynders' handling of allegations that a senior officer seriously injured a 15-year-old suspect during an arrest in May 2007, The Australian newspaper said.

It said the boy needed hospital care for a ruptured spleen following his arrest. But Ms Rynders, in a ruling sent to the CMC, found allegations the injury was caused by an arresting officer were unsubstantiated, the paper said.

The CMC has filed an application for Queensland's Civil and Administrative Tribunal to review Ms Rynders' decision not to sack the officer.

Just last month, Ms Rynders was given the job of deciding how to discipline six police involved in flawed investigations into Cameron Doomadgee's 2004 death at the Palm Island watchhouse. Mr Doomadgee suffered broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and a liver almost split in two when he died at the police station.

Arresting officer Chris Hurley was ultimately acquitted over his death.

Ms Rynders was given the job of disciplining the six after a court ruled someone other than Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson should do it, because he could be seen as biased.

The court ruling followed a damning CMC report, released in June. It found serious flaws in the initial investigation - conducted by four officers who fraternised with Mr Doomadgee's arresting officer - and errors in a subsequent internal review by two senior officers.

At the time, CMC chairman Martin Moynihan also accused Mr Atkinson of presiding of a culture of self-protection within the police service.


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