A Critical incident investigation is underway after the death of a woman who was hit with a police taser overnight in Stockton, near Newcastle.
Reports that a 47-year-old woman died in John Hunter Hospital follows the tasering of 95-year-old Cooma woman Clare Nowland earlier this year causing her death.
Greens MP and spokesperson for justice Sue Higginson said that the news this morning of yet another death at the hands of the police is truly heartbreaking. ‘This is an unnecessary tragedy for the friends, family and community of the deceased woman,
‘Although not all the circumstances of this incident are apparent at this stage, it is reported that the woman, now deceased, had locked herself in a unit and that police broke into the unit and then tasered her to calm her down.
‘We have got to stop deploying deadly weapons to de-escalate and calm people in these situations – it is murderous. It is not reported that the deceased woman had harmed anyone. This just reeks of more dreadful policing.’
Ms Higginson said we need to break the cycle of wrongful police response. ‘People with complex needs should not be killed by police. Rather than a proper independent investigation we will now see a critical incident investigation take place, where police will investigate police and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission will have some limited oversight role.’
Ms Higginson is calling on the Minister for Police to urgently release further information about this death in Newcastle. ‘Trust in policing is low and the community deserves transparency and accountability. The Government has refused to support my attempts to establish a parliamentary inquiry into the use of deadly force by the Police against people with complex needs.
‘If the NSW Minister for Police wants to stop these wrongful deaths and make meaningful changes to the way we treat people with complex needs then she should support the widespread calls to establish an inquiry into the Police,
‘We know that we should be handling mental health and other complex needs without armed police intervention, the Police should not be allowed to deploy their deadly weapons against the general public under the conditions that currently exist.’