Added by Elivia DeVries on March 19, 2011
The three police officers who tasered a teenage girl on Wednesday has been “highly commended” by Queensland’s Deputy Police Commissioner while others claim it was an overreaction.
The 17-year old allegedly produced a knife in a fish and ship shop on Herries Street, Toowoomba on Wednesday night, and demanded that the owner and a female staff member call the police.
When police officers arrived at the scene, the girl appeared to be suicidal, said Deputy Police Commissioner Ross Barnett. “The girl … posed clear and immediate danger to herself, the shop staff and attending police, who needed to take immediate action to prevent the situation to escalating to serious injury or death,” he told reporters.
According to footage showed to the media, the girl was warned more than ten times that a Taser gun would be used if she did not do as she was told. To this, the girl responded: “Real gun, real gun. Shoot me with a real gun.”
The girl was tasered less than 40 seconds after police arrived. Ambulance officers later treated her for a head injury.
According to former Queensland police sergeant and politician Peter Pyke, the police officers should have used their negotiation skills better, or used a baton. “There’s three of them, they turn up, she’s threatening self-harm … and they taser her. It’s completely unacceptable,” he told AAP.
Mr Barnett, however, said the officers had acted within police guidelines. He added: “It wasn’t a situation where we could have had a protracted negotiation with her, we needed to act and I think we gave the appropriate number of warnings.”
The use of Tasers is a subject of ongoing debate in Queensland.