19 Jun 2009

Greens urge police to stop rollout of tasers

9:49 pm on 19 June 2009

The Green Party is calling for New Zealand's rollout of police tasers to be suspended after the death of a man in Queensland who may have been tasered up to 28 times.

The Queensland police have ordered a review of the use of the gun.

Green MP Keith Locke says the New Zealand police should suspend their rollout and also ensure that the tasers already in use are not fired more than once at a person.

During the year-long police trial of tasers here, Mr Locke says, the trigger was pulled more than once in over a third of cases.

A police spokesperson says they're aware of the Queensland incident but the roll-out of tasers will continue.

Nationwide Australian review urged

Civil liberties groups in Australia are demanding a thorough investigation of the Queensland tasering. Antonio Galeano, 39, collapsed and died after being tasered during an attempted arrest at his home in Brandon last Friday.

Details of an autopsy published by the Australian newspaper on Friday have revealed that he had a heart condition.

The report also says that the officers involved in the incident are under police protection following death threats.

On Thursday, Mr Galeano's partner said she begged the police to stop repeatedly using the stun gun.

"They were electrocuting him, he was screaming in pain. It looked like someone had a bolt of lightning and (it was) hitting him and taking every last bit of life out of him."

The incident, which involved two officers, is being investigated by the coroner and the police service's ethical standards command, overseen by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

But Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman says an independent investigation is needed, looking at police use of tasers across all jurisdictions in Australia.