Justice for Roberto Laudisio Curti

Brazilian student Laudisio Curti, 21, was tasered to death merely on suspicion of taking biscuits from a convenience story in Sydney.

According to several news sources, after hearing from the shop attendant that Curti had acted strangely at the store and run out without paying for a small package, six police officers chased him down and used deadly force, even though Curti was unarmed and did nothing to threaten anyone's life. Following a set of three shocks, he was knocked to the pavement and could not be revived.

Police admitted that Conti had been pepper-sprayed prior to the tasering, so some think he may have run to avoid being sprayed again. Others assume illegal drugs were involved, even though legal drugs and emotional crisis could just as well account for Curti’s behavior.

Indymedia in Sydney says this is one incident “that cannot be allowed to pass without a strong response.” Tell NSW you agree and demand justice for Laudisio Curti and control of police taser use.

We, the undersigned, agree with Civil Liberty advocates in AU that taser use needs to be curtailed and better controlled.

An article in by Tim Priest in the Australian represents a view that appears to justify police violence, noting the rise in methamphetamine and other illegal drugs use, along with the rise in killings of police officers by a growing ownership of handguns. But although these concerns are likely valid, the article acts as if illegal drug use, i.e. criminal activity justifying police violence, is the only cause of paranoid, violent or otherwise strange behavior.

There can be no argument that police usually have no way of knowing whether a person acting as Curti did in this tragic incident was suffering from some kind of emotional trauma, brain injury, mental health condition or legal drug reaction.

In the end, the NSW police, as well as others that use tasers and guns, which are indisputably deadly weapons, must ask whether it is acceptable or not to use deadly force on a person experiencing a health issue or prescription drug reaction. Neither of these situations have anything to do with crime, and often they can cause people to flee from imagined dangers (as well as real dangers). If it's not acceptable to use violence on sick people, then it's not justified at all when no one is being endangered by another's behavior.

Furthermore you must accept that tasers are deadly weapons, and certainly consider the synergistic effects of pepper-spraying, then tasering a victim numerous times, and question seriously whether an act justifies using this kind of force before using it. As long as denial about tasers' ability to kill continues, police are less likely to use them with caution or restraint.

We request that first that NSW police department order an independent investigation into the death of Laudisio Curti and, second, that you re-examine and reform the rules regarding your use of tasers.

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