Aim was to dis­able, hand­cuff Re­peat tasers ‘ not harm­ful’

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Roanne John­son roanne. john­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

AN Ayr po­lice­man thought taser ac­ti­va­tions would not se­ri­ously hurt An­to­nio Galeano so he used the de­vice re­peat­edly on the 39-year-old in the be­lief it was not do­ing him any harm.

‘‘ I didn’t think it was hurt­ing him,’’ Se­nior Con­sta­ble Craig Myles said yes­ter­day at a coro­nial in­quest into Mr Galeano’s death in cus­tody on June 12, 2009.

Snr-Const Myles said he be­lieved from taser train­ing five weeks ear­lier that a de­vice, which emits a 50,000 volt shock, would only tem­po­rar­ily freeze an of­fender’s mus­cles.

The of­fi­cer claimed he an­tic­i­pated Mr Galeano would be in­ca­pac­i­tated from an ac­ti­va­tion, for around five sec­onds, so he could be ar­rested.

‘‘( So) that there would be a chance there to get in and hand­cuff him,’’ Snr-Const Myles said.

The po­lice­man, who claims he used the taser eight times on Mr Galeano, later told col­leagues that the de­vice did not ap­pear to work as well as he was taught be­cause some ac­ti­va­tions were not ef­fec­tive. Data down­loaded from the taser has recorded up to

An­to­nio Galeano 28 ac­ti­va­tions, but the Snr-Const claims he does not re­mem­ber us­ing it on that many oc­ca­sions.

‘‘ I don’t re­call do­ing that 28 times . . . That’s the way it seems ( but) I did it eight times,’’ he said.

Unde r q u e s t i o n i n g b y t h e Galeano fam­ily’s de­fence bar­ris­ter, Harvey Wal­ters, the Sn­rConst said he thought the eight ac­ti­va­tions were ap­pro­pri­ate and jus­ti­fied. ‘‘ I did the best I could at the time,’’ he said.

He added he only wanted to help Mr Galeano, who he thought was suf­fer­ing from drug-in­duced in- t ox­i­ca­tion af­ter be­ing f ound naked, blood-cov­ered and rant­ing in­side his girl­friend’s Bran­don unit around 3am.

‘‘ As soon as I saw him there with the in­juries he had, I wanted to take him to hos­pi­tal . . . I was try­ing to get him help for the drug over­dose he had,’’ he said.

‘‘ I was try­ing to calm him down and make sure he wasn’t a dan­ger to him­self or some­one else first.’’

The of­fi­cer said he then ac­ti­vated the taser out­side three times through the Green St unit’s bath­room win­dow be­cause Mr Galeano was try­ing to climb out with a weapon and then in­side five times to sub­due the man.

Af­ter be­ing hand­cuffed Mr Galeano’s face went ‘‘ a smoky ashen dark’’ colour and he was found to have no pulse.

CPR was per­formed but the in­quest heard there was ev­i­dence at­tempts might not have been im­me­di­ate be­cause triple-0 phone calls recorded a five-minute de­lay af­ter it was no­ticed the de­ceased man wasn’t breath­ing.

Sen-Const Myles, de­nied it took that long and said ‘‘ there didn’t seem to be any de­lay to me’’.

The in­quest, be­fore deputy state coro­ner Christine Cle­ments, will re­sume in Bris­bane on March 21.

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