Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Qld. cops go berserk with Taser

The guy they were attending to had gone berserk but the police themselves were just as much out of control. The cop concerned should be charged with negligent homicide

POLICE repeatedly fired a Taser into a man until a spark "like a piece of lightning" shot out of his chest, an inquest has heard.

Witness Sandra Wynne yesterday told an inquest into the death of north Queensland man Antonio Galeano, 39, how she begged a police officer to stop firing the 50,000-volt device. "His face turned black," she said. "I could hear the buzzing of the Taser and Tony screaming in pain. "Every time I could see a little spark, like a piece of lightning, coming out of his chest. "I said to them: 'How many times can you hit him with that bloody thing until you kill him?' "

She broke into tears as she told the inquest how she watched as her lover died and his "eyes rolled back in his head".

Ms Wynne, a mother-of-two, had called police to calm her drug-addicted partner, who was naked and covered in blood, as he destroyed her flat in Brandon, south of Townsville, on June 12 last year. Galeano had torn out chunks of her hair, smashed furniture and thrown a television through a window.

Data collected from the Taser showed it was activated 28 times during the incident. Ms Wynne said police did nothing to try to resuscitate Galeano. "I was watching him die and they were doing nothing," she said.

The inquest heard earlier an officer had performed chest compressions after noticing Galeano was not breathing, but did not attempt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because they did not have a mask with them.

Galeano had been treated and released from the mental health unit at Townsville Hospital a day earlier and was "very emotional and upset", claiming he had been beaten up by police, the inquest heard.

It also emerged Senior Constable Craig Myles, who fired the device, had never before used the Taser in the field. Inspector Ron Sakzewski, who headed the internal police investigation into the incident, said Sen-Constable Myles had attended a one-day Taser training course a month before the incident. He said training practices had been revised since Galeano's death.