Probe into Brazilian man's Taser death slams Australian police

Featured Oceania - November 14th, 2012

An Australian coroner criticized police who repeatedly Tasered a 21-year old Brazilian, leading to his death, saying that the officers “abused” their powers.

New South Wales coroner Mary Jerram recommended action against police officers, whose actions were “reckless, careless, dangerous, and excessively forceful” but failed to determine the cause of death of student Roberto Laudisio Curti.

Curti died on March 18 following a chase and violent struggle with 11 police officers over incorrect reports of an armed robbery, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Officers reportedly stunned him at least 14 times, tackling him to the ground and blasting him with pepper spray. Minutes later, he was unresponsive and could not be revived.

It was “impossible to believe that he would have died but for the actions of police,” Jerram said.

Police accepted the coroner’s recommendations, saying that five officers involved will be referred to an independent watchdog. There will also be a review of the criteria for Taser use.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told AFP that Tasers would continue to be used despite the incident. “These weapons save lives,” he said.

Curti’s family expressed their shock and disgust at police. “Whilst nothing will ever bring Beto back, we continue to push for those responsible to face the consequences of their appalling behaviour on that night,” family spokesman Michael Reynolds told reporters.