Officers shaken by death
A POLICEWOMAN first on the scene at a Brandon unit where a man was allegedly tasered up to 28 times knew Antonio Galeano had been involved in an altercation with police the previous day.
Constable Marina Cross told the Townsville court house inquest into the death of the 48-year-old that she had first heard of the deceased man when she started her 10pm shift on June 12, 2009 at the Ayr police station.
A co-worker, Constable Darren Smith, had recounted to her an incident he had with Galeano on June 10 after it was reported that a male was walking on the railway tracks at Brandon.
‘ ‘ W h e n t h e y l o c a t e d ( M r Galeano) he displayed suicidal, violent and aggressive behaviour,’’ Const Cross said.
Const Smith said in his evidence that Mr Galeano was found with no shirt, wearing a pair of stubby shorts and muttering to himself.
‘‘ He was very incoherent . . . he was not in a normal state of mind,’’ Const Smith said.
Mr Galeano, who was taken to hospital for mental health assessment and drug issues, was described as ‘‘ unusually strong’’ by Const Smith after the officer injured his shoulder in the struggle to handcuff him.
Ayr police next became aware of Mr Galeano when Const Cross received a call during her shift to attend a Green St address in relation to a male person causing a disturbance around 2.30am.
A phone call was played to the court in which a police operator said ‘‘ Do I have a s*** ty job for you . . . Antonio Galeano’’.
Const Cross replies ‘‘ Oh excellent’’ and is told Mr Galeano is ‘ ‘ off his face’’ and ‘ ‘ running around naked’’ af t er assaulting a woman, Sandra Wynne, and smashing up her unit.
‘‘ I guess sarcasm was used . . . but I was more surprised t h a t w e h a d been given a job for the same male person, knowing the behaviour and demeanour the previous day,’’ she said.
Const Cross said when she exp l a i n e d t h e j o b t o S e n i o r - Constable Craig Myles, who was a l s o f i r s t o n t he s c e ne, he equipped himself with a taser before they left.
‘‘ He said he had significant dealings during his time at Ayr with Mr Galeano . . . some of an aggressive and violent nature,’’ Const Cross said.
Meanwhile, a policeman who attended in the aftermath told of seeing the two police officers appearing shaken when Mr Galeano could not be revived.
Constable Andrew McDowell, who was called as back-up to Ms Wynne’s unit at 3am, said he saw paramedics perform CPR on a male laying the ground – with blood all over his face – until there was no pulse.
He said Const Cross was in the kitchen at t he t i me l ooking visi bl y upset and Sen-Const Myles was observed later standing by a police car looking down.
Const McDowell said he may have asked what happened but could not recall the response.
Const Smith, who also attended as back-up, said he also witnessed the same behaviour from the pair.
‘‘ To my knowledge Sen-Const Myles and Const Cross were very quiet and appeared to be in shock . . . they were not making a lot of conversation at all,’’ Const Smith said.
The inquest resumes today.
Constable Darren Smith