CW: self harm, police brutality, police violence against First Nations people.
A 43-year-old man was killed in Sydney’s Inner West after he was tasered and shot by NSW police during a welfare check.
Police were called to Franklyn St, Glebe at approximately 11.50pm on Wednesday after reports that the 43-year-old man had harmed himself, according to Assistant Commissioner Tony Cook.
After entering the property, police allege that they were “confronted” by the man, who came towards them with a “large carving knife”.
His prior injuries were “very clearly” visible and the room was lit when officers entered and deployed the taser and firearm according to Assistant Commissioner Cook.
The man was treated by paramedics but died at the scene.
It is understood that the man was living in a unit owned by Housing NSW. The Franklyn Street social housing estate was at the centre of a three year campaign after the former NSW government announced it would redevelop the estate — with 70 per cent of the newly built homes being designated for privately owned dwellings.
Residents were left unsure about the future of their housing. The plan was abandoned in March of this year.
More than half of deaths or serious injuries in NSW police operations between 2017-2022 were linked to mental health crises. In the last state budget, NSW Police were given $5.5 billion of taxpayer funds. Mental health funding across the state sits at $2.9 billion.
This death follows other questionable use of force by NSW Police.
Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old woman with dementia, was killed after being tasered by NSW police in May of this year. Prosecutors allege the officer stated “nah bugger it” before deploying the taser in the interaction with the great grandmother.
Earlier this week, CCTV footage showed Proughton McRae, a 50-year-old Aboriginal man, repeatedly punched and kicked by three officers outside Kings Cross station. McRae was initially charged with three counts of assaulting police, three of resisting arrest, and one of assaulting police causing actual bodily harm and behaving in an offensive manner. All charges were withdrawn after the footage was put before the court. An internal police investigation cleared an officer involved in the incident of any wrongdoing.
In May of this year, Constable Ryan Barlow was found guilty of assault after slamming a 16-year-old Indigenous boy to the ground. Magistrate Rami Attia stated that “the risk of danger [to Barlow] … was either minimal or nonexistent”. The boy’s face, shoulder and hips hit the floor, and Barlow then pinned the boy to the floor with his knee.
There are growing calls for further investigation into NSW police’s use of force, with MP Sue Higginson noting that it is a “systematic” issue and stating that “we need to accept that we actually have a police problem in NSW.”
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