Police at a station in the Northern Territory of Australia have come under some much deserved scrutiny recently for verbally abusing a burglary suspect in their custody and feeding him garbage.
The prisoner was the butt of jokes at the station because he was arrested while sleeping at the scene of the place he robbed. Yes, he wasn’t very smart and being teased because of the circumstances of his arrest can be expected. But that’s where the fun should end. Instead…
Security camera footage taken inside the police station shows one officer picking toast and a carton of milk out of a trash can and giving it to the prisoner. The man was also verbally abused by Police, being called a “loser, retard, dickhead, stupid idiot and piece of s**t.”
After enduring the abuse for a time, the prisoner was so distraut that he tried to commit suicide or seriously injure himself by jumping high into the air and landing on his head. One officer allegedly said: “Go ahead, do it.”
Northern Territory Ombudsman, Carolyn Richards was informed of the inappropriate treatment of the prisoner and in her annual report she criticized their behavior. Police then disputed the report, saying she was biased and didn’t consider how provocative the prisoner had been.
According to the NT News, Ombudsman Richards responded to the Police by saying: “Hard as it might be for police officers to deal with provocative and insulting behavior, a trained officer must at all times conduct him/herself professionally and not sink to the standards of those who have no respect for the law.”
Teasing is one thing, but Police feeding someone food taken from the trash and encouraging them to try to kill themselves while in custody is abuse.
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