Monday, February 28, 2005

NSW Police Force: Deaths in custody?

Police under attack in Sydney's south-west

A police officer has been hit by a brick thrown by a community member in the third night of protest in Sydney's southwest.

The protest follows the deaths of two teenagers during a police pursuit on Friday night.

The definition of a 'death in custody' recommended by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody includes, 'the death wherever occurring of a person who dies or is fatally injured in the process of police or prison officers attempting to detain that person'.

With deaths resulting from police pursuits, before the occupant or occupants of the vehicle are recorded as a 'death in custody', it would need to be established that there was a pursuit under way and still in progress at the time of death.

It would also need to be established what offence had been committed by the occupant/s of the vehicle and therefore whether only the driver or all occupants had committed an offence?

Late on Friday night, two teenagers were killed when a stolen car crashed at Macquarie Fields in south-western Sydney, after fleeing from a patrolling police car.

Crash investigation officers had rocks thrown at them early on Saturday morning, and on Saturday night police in riot gear were pelted with rocks and house bricks.

Last night's violent incident occurred in the suburb of Macquarie Fields where a group of 30 police officers advanced on 50 or more protesters.

The protesters pelted the police officers, wearing riot gear, with bricks and other projectiles.

Roads in the area have been closed while a helicopter monitored the situation from the sky.

Police announced yesterday that they were forming a task force to investigate two previous attacks.

Crash investigation officers had rocks thrown at them early on Saturday morning, and on Saturday night police in riot gear were also pelted with rocks and house bricks.

Assistant Police Commissioner Denis Clifford says cooperation between police and the local community is needed.

"The behaviour of certain people in the Macquarie Fields area over the last couple of nights has done nothing but hinder the investigation by the coroner and police into the circumstances, surrounding the death of the two young teenagers out there," he said.

"I'm asking the people who have been involved in that type of behaviour to allow police to get on with their job."

Assistant Commissioner Clifford says police are prepared if any further attacks occurred.

"Can I reassure the community out there, that we will have sufficient resources in that area to deal with anything that arises," he said.

"I certainly hope that there won't be a repeat of last night's behaviour. But if there is, we will have sufficient specialist resources in there to support the local police."

Channel Nine News: "If they didn't steal the car they would be alive today?"

But should young adolescence get the death penalty for learning?, trial and error?, and for making a mistake?, in a world where making a mistake is the only certain way of getting anything right during those growing years?

By Starsky and Hutch 28 February 05

Ed: You learn more from being wrong than from being right. Being right means being right all the time, but being wrong and right means being right in the end.

So if the above statement is true then in the process of being wrong, young adults need flexibility not death to prove otherwise and to lean by their mistakes. In short a second chance!

There should be no police pursuits that cause death when young lives are lost. When young lives are learning and gaining their wisdom.

Give Up the Chase and Stay Safe

Related Articles:

Fatal accident prompts police pursuit probe
Friday, January 16, 2004

A fatal car accident in New South Wales has prompted a review of the procedures police use during high-speed pursuits.

Police say a man and a young girl were killed when a speeding car crashed head-on into another car at McGrath's Hill in Sydney's north-west.

One of those killed was the 53-year-old driver of the speeding car. The child was in the other car. Her parents and an aunt are all in a critical condition in hospital.

The Deputy Police Commissioner Dave Madden says current procedures will be looked at.

"As a result of last night, we will review all our procedures," he said.

"A critical incident team has been called in. They will investigate what actually occurred, the decisions of the police and what went on, and what went through their minds, as well as our existing procedures."

Riot in Redfern over death in custody
16 February 2004

The reported claim that 50 police were injured during rioting in Redfern over a death in custody is nothing more than a counter claim required to balance the argument that Thomas Hickey wasn't chased to his death by police.

The counter claim makes it look good for police opposed to addressing serious procedural problems within the NSW Police "Force".

The death of a three-year-old girl during a pursuit on Windsor Road at McGraths Hill in January 2004, is another example of police pursuits.

The Staysafe committee released a report into police pursuits in November 1994.

But The New South Wales Opposition's police spokesman, Peter Debnam, said, "Many recommendations were yet to be implemented."

Four people were taken into custody after anger erupted at the death of 17-year-old Aborigine Thomas Hickey, who was impaled through the neck on a fence on Saturday morning.

Mr Waites says the riot began after the death of Mr Hickey, who was impaled on a fence in the area on Saturday. "

The misinformation was that they were under the belief that the police were actually involved in a pursuit where an Aboriginal youth was killed and that wasn't true," he said.

But why are police so quick to claim misinformation yet there has been no enquiry. Usually police won't say anything when there appears to have been a death in custody why the change?

Obviously there are witnesses who have said that police chased the youngster to his death. Waites says officers who were on patrol drove past the boy, who was riding his bicycle in the opposite direction. "They continued on their patrol," he said.

They weren't aware that after he'd passed them, he accelerated on his pushbike and gone around a corner and lost control of it. It wasn't till they came around the block again and people flagged them down and told them what happened [that they knew], so the suggestion that police have in some way been the cause of the death is fairly questionable."

But not if you're a witness to the police chase!

The teenager's mother, Gail Hickey, yesterday said police caused her son's death.

"I don't believe the police, I don't care what they say, I don't believe them," she said.

"They did chase him at that time. I got a witness to all that. He seen everything that happened. He told me he seen my son riding the bike real fast, next minute he seen cop cars coming, chasing my son to the building there, where it happened."

Local resident Donna says people are grieving. "It all started over the coppers chasing a young boy," she said.

"It happened yesterday afternoon or last night and it's just that everybody has gone off because they believe the coppers are involved in doing away with the young fellow."

Donna says people are angry because they believe police are responsible for the teenager's death. "He was murdered," she said.

"We've been down to look at the spot and everything and there's no sign, they cleaned it up that quick."

Redfern Aboriginal elder Lyall Munro says police harass local young people on a daily basis and have them running scared.

"The community here is very much aware of what happened," Mr Munro said.

"This type of thing is going to happen and our young people are going to die in this way whilst ever the police are allowed to get away with it."

Mr Munro says relations with police are at an all-time low.

"Community programs that we had going here ....all fell through because Aboriginal people saw what the street police done immediately after the meetings," Mr Munro said.

The president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Ray Jackson, says police could have managed the situation better.

He is a friend of the Hickey family and says a police car was driving in a street where the teenager's mother was grieving on Sunday afternoon.

"One report that I got was the police were smiling and sniggering and all this sort of thing and it was common knowledge that there was going to be a problem as soon as it got dark and that's exactly what's happened," Mr Jackson said.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released the National Deaths in Custody Program annual report for 2002 Between January and December 2002, there was a total of 69 deaths in custody in Australia. There were 50 deaths in prison custody and 19 deaths in police custody and custody-related police operations.

Related Links:

Community disturbed by riot violence?
Don't blame it on the social mix, don't blame it on the housing estate, don't blame it on the dysfunctional community but blame it on the Police Force!

On Sunday 13th February, a Community gathering will be held to enable all people to remember the death of one of our young Community members, 'TJ' Hickey.

Whitewash over Hickey's death
The New South Wales coroner has cleared police of any responsibility for the death of Aboriginal teenager Thomas 'TJ' Hickey.

Redfern police need education not weapons
NSW police want new offensive equipment including long-range capsicum spray guns and modified armoured vehicles capable of spraying tear gas following a damning report on the Redfern riots in Sydney earlier this year.

Carr defends Redfern riot fallout

But such is the fact that police can do no wrong according to authorities that one wonders what benefit to the community this report would be other than to protect the police again.

The Young Man From Kamilaroi
On Monday, 5 July 2004, the Hickey Family and their supporters will come together in the Glebe Coroners Court with the Redfern Police, the same police, specifically unknown at this time, who pursued the Young Man to his death by impalement.

Police stalkers set to escape
The real issue was posted it read "Wanted child murderers"!

Payback over Redfern riot after death in custody
A 37 year-old woman will appear in court today charged over her alleged involvement in a riot in Redfern on Sunday night.

Riot in Redfern over death in custody
The reported claim that 50 police were injured during rioting in Redfern over a death in custody is nothing more than a counter claim required to balance the argument that Thomas Hickey wasn't chased to his death by police.

Redfern police 'need to be made accountable'
POLICE have no right to demand increased support to patrol Redfern in the wake of one of the worst death in custody cover-ups by police in Australian history.

"If I Could Turn Back Time" Daily Terror, CH/7
THE real cause of last month's violent Redfern riots was the death of teenager Thomas "TJ" Hickey but perhaps only one element of the racism, harassment and bullying by the New South Wales police force and in this case Redfern police at the Block.

Was Thomas Hickey payback?
Yesterday it was alleged police faced a potentially deadly confrontation with locals of a redfern housing block last week when a gun was grabbed from an officer's holster and held to his stomach.

Gather at the Block at 9am March to Phillip Street Redfern, "Turanga Block" vigial at site of "TJ's" death. March to Redfern Police Station to leave list of demands regarding the enquiries into his death.

The ALP's fascist police states
Welcome back Sid-in-knee. Old Falangist Samaranch would surely feel right at home in any number of fascist police states around this wide brown land today. Who needs Franco when you have Beattie, Rann, Carr, Bracks and co. Flamin' fascist fucks the lot of them.

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