Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited

ALSWA calls on immediate Review of Taser stun guns in WA

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 21 July 2009

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 21 July 2009

With an internal investigation proposed in relation to yesterday’s taser attack on a young man in the Warburton community, the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) says it is premature for anyone to comment on whether the use of a taser in this incident was warranted or not.

“What concerns me greatly is that we are increasingly hearing about more cases where the use of a taser stun gun has resulted in a fatality.” said Mr. Eggington ALSWA CEO.

ALSWA says there needs to be an urgent review of policy and procedure relating to taser use in WA. “Tasers have proven to be a lethal weapon in the past, and if used at all, they should only be handled by specialist police (not general duty officers) and as a last resort” he said.

Mr. Eggington said the excessive use of any deterrent, whether it be tasers, pepper spray, guns or handcuffs leads to major concerns when something like this goes tragically wrong.

ALSWA has long held concerns about the safe use of tasers on Aboriginal people, many of whom are already vulnerable due to serious medical conditions. “There are major health issues affecting many of our people across the country, from diabetes to heart health. When you couple that fact with the reality that our people are over-policed and disproportionately imprisoned, there is clearly an increased risk of serious harm or death by taser to somebody who is already in a poor state of health”.

ALSWA calls on the WA Police to ensure that there is a full and proper investigation in relation to this matter and a review of current procedures surrounding the use of taser guns in WA.

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7 Aberdeen Street
Perth WA 6000
(near McIver Train Station)

Phone: +61 8 9265 6666
Fax: +61 8 9221 1767
URGENT AFTER HOURS Criminal Matter:
08 9265 6644
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