BY AMY MCQUIRE, MAY 2, 2012
Originally published in Tracker Magazine.
NATIONAL: An independent police watchdog says it will not conduct an investigation into the shooting of two Aboriginal teenagers in Kings Cross, stating the NSW Police Force are best placed to probe the incident.
The two teenagers, aged 14 and 18, were shot bypolice after the stolen car they were driving mounted the footpath in the busy nightclub district, pinning a woman, aged 29, under its wheels.
There was another pedestrian struck in the incident.
The 18-year-old front-seat passenger, Troy Taylor, was shot in the neck and rushed to hospital. The 14-year-old driver was also rushed to hospital after being shot. A second bullet was found lodged in his arm.
Graphic mobile phone footage of police punching and restraining the two teenagers caused national outrage, and
spurred protests at NSW Parliament House.
NSW Greens Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge wrote to the Police Integrity Commission earlier this month, calling on an independent investigation into police actions.
The PIC was set up in 1996 in order to investigate serious misconduct by NSW Police officers.
Commission Bruce James, QC, told Mr Shoebridge the body only had eight investigators and “neither the resources nor the structure which would support a capability to investigate incidents of the kind which occurred on 21 April”.
“There are many respects in which the commission lacks the resources and the structure, which are available to the NSW Police Force to investigate critical incidents.”
Mr Shoebridge lamented the level of PIC funding.
“This year NSW has seen three police shootings and a further death following multiple police Taserings, but we are yet to see a single independent investigation, Mr Shoebridge said in a statement.
“We need an end to the practice of police investigating police in NSW in critical incidents; proper funding of the Police Integrity Commission can go some way to achieving this.
“The Police Integrity Commission is underfunded to the point where its ability to perform its statutory obligation is brought into question.”
“Any organisation that investigates itself, whether it is a police force, a union or a local council, has an inherent bias in favour of self protection that limits its usefulness.
“For the public to have faith in the NSW Police Force, it is essential that critical police incidents involving deaths or shootings are automatically investigated by an independent body.