Survival instinct – misuse of a taser

incredible! and appalling!

the survival instinct.

again an example of misuse of a taser because common sense clearly shows that it was not necessary by any normal standard to employ the taser for compliance purposes. i did say ‘normal’ however,

police training and tactics is specifically aimed at protection of police at all costs, regardless of level of risk to themselves. the police act and/or react to that self defence instinctively. without thought to the circumstances or their actions because they are inundated every day with their absolute ‘right’ to protect themselves, whatever the level of risk. full immunity and impunity from the everyday laws of this country. but very, very slowly that dictum is being challenged in the courts and by the courts.

ms. oakley was clearly distressed at the intrusion by the emotionally charged qld department of child safety which is equivalent to the nsw department of community services. i have no idea why she is being visited by the child safety workers but i easily understand her stress at their intervention. the article does not identify how the police became involved but it seems reasonable to assume that the social workers called them for assistance for whatever they wanted to act upon. this relationship puts the police right in the middle of an already heated and emotional situation.

it is common knowledge that police around australia receive very little, if any, competent training in how to intelligently defuse these events. a reading of the article below suggests that ms. oakley was in a distressed state and was feeling threatened not only by the social workers but now also by the police, all of whom were armed to the teeth.

stressful by anybody’s standards. but, as the report below shows the police were only capable of force rather than a more calming professional approach. ms. oakley had placed her ‘weapon’ on the ground and was therefore identifiably unarmed yet the officers remained armed. when she reached for her bag the senior officer present fired without warning apparently and hit her in the eye as she was bending.

badly wounded, she was rushed by all four officers, put on her stomach and emptied of air by them kneeling on her to allow her to be hand-cuffed. these too are instinctive actions by the police during such events. it is also normal practice to ‘consult’ as a team prior to allowing ambulance personnel to have access to the victim involved.

a further instinctive action by police is for a figure of authority, perhaps the premier, the police commissioner or minister, or worse, the respective police union, goes public in the unsubstantiated defence of the unprofessional action by the offending police. we are informed by acting assistant commissioner, steve hollands, that the officer was well-trained and a taser trainer, an experienced officer in fact. whilst this may be true it matters not one iota to the event circumstances. the officer who fired the taser did not, repeat not, act in self defence. ms. oakley had placed the wooden leg on the ground, she was identifiably unarmed. end of story.

the instinct for survival of the police in australia is well known and, thankfully, is also coming to the notice of the judiciary. we will press on with our continued calls for justice , the stopping of police brutality and the continuing misuse of their tasers.


ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

2013 Laureate
Prix de l’Homme de Francais
(French Human Rights Medal 2013)

(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947

1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017

we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.

sovereignty treaty social justice

Woman blinded in one eye after being tasered by police officer
By Francis Tapim and Andree Withey
Updated Fri 7 Feb 2014, 7:02pm AEDT

Video: Woman blinded after being tasered in eye by Queensland police officer (ABC News)
Photo: Sheila Oakley in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital after being hit in the eye by a police Taser. (ABC News: Francis Tapim)

A woman has been blinded in one eye after being tasered by a police officer who was a highly experienced Taser trainer.

Sheila Oakley, 36, was tasered in the eye by the officer at her home on Jacaranda Avenue at Woodridge, south of Brisbane, around 1:00pm (AEST) yesterday.

Her family says Ms Oakley became upset after a visit by social workers.

“I don’t think there’s a chance for me to get my vision back on my left-hand side,” Ms Oakley.

Ms Oakley was intoxicated and admits she held a stick when police arrived.

“I put the stick down and as I was going in to get my bag, he pointed the Taser at me and got me,” she said.

Her sister, who did not want to be named, says a steel prong carrying a high voltage electrical current hit Ms Oakley’s eye.

“When she went to grab her handbag he tasered her and then the Taser went straight into her eye,” she said.

She says with the Taser still lodged in her eye, the officers continued to arrest her.

“Four police officers then got her, threw her to the ground, turned her onto her stomach, put their knees into her back, and then put handcuffs on,” she said.

She says Ms Oakley was held at the house for more than 30 minutes before ambulance officers took her to the hospital.

Her sister says after it happened, the officer apologised to Ms Oakley.

“The police officer came to the ambulance to speak to Sheila and said to Sheila, ‘I know you don’t want to speak to me right now, but I am sorry’,” she said.

Investigation underway, commissioner says officer acted in self-defence

Police Ethical Standards Command and the Department of Child Safety are investigating the incident.

Acting assistant police commissioner Steve Hollands says the woman had been threatening the officer with a table leg that had nails protruding from it.

“The police officer involved is a very experienced police officer,” he said. “He’s a senior constable and he’s also a qualified Taser instructor.

“The ethical standards command and the criminal investigation commission will overview the matter and at this point in time the woman remains in hospital in South Brisbane.”

Acting Assistant Commissioner Hollands says the officer acted in self-defence.

“In the absence of Tasers, the police officer would have been justified in using his firearm under the circumstances,” he said.

“The injury to the female of course is very much regrettable and the QPS is providing all reasonable assistance to the family and members of her family.”

Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey has declined to comment on the matter as it is subject to an internal investigation. The Queensland Police Union has also declined to comment.

Ms Oakley’s family say they will be suing the Queensland Police Service.

Family spokesman and community leader Abraham Saylor believes the incident is “absolutely appalling”.

“From what I’ve been told about police tasering people you are not supposed to taser from the head up,” he said.

“She lives alone and people rock up to her house, she would have a bit of a fear factor there.”

First posted Fri 7 Feb 2014, 7:41am AEDT

ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947
address 1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017

we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.

sovereignty treaty social justice

One thought on “Survival instinct – misuse of a taser

  1. It is obvious that police training in general is not adequate at all or this situation would not have occurred. For a person to be tasered in the eye by the instructor and be surrounded by four officers just does not make sense at all. The woman had put down her weapon and co-operating with the police. The operator must not have been in the correct position to start with when firing this tool of torture. Police are trained to reassess the situation and continue doing so as things change. The woman had shown this by putting down the weapon. Anyone who stands up and says that they were acting in self-defence can never be believed. And anyone who stands up and says they were justified in doing this to another human being are grossly mistaken.
    It takes nurses, teachers, lawyers, social workers, mental health workers and others 4 years to graduate in their field. The limited training by police can never equal these people’s individual expertise.

    Unfortunately the limited training does not include identifying who the bullies in the playground used to be. It may be a case of these bullies finding the perfect ninche in their lives and continuing to impose their bullying styles onto the community. And to boot, they will be forever protected from any wrongdoing. What a very sad state of affairs.

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