News

Coroner finds 28 taser zaps didn't cause man's death

Updated: 4:16pm

A CORONER has found taser use - involving 28 zaps - did not directly cause a drug-affected North Queensland man's death.

Deputy State Coroner Christine Clements said found Antonio Carmelo Galeano's death was most likely caused by his drug use and heart problems.

She said, in delivering her findings in Brisbane Coroners Court on Wednesday, she would not recommend any disciplinary action or criminals charges against the Ayr officers involved.

"The cause of Mr Galeano's death was excited delirium, probably caused by amphetamine toxicity included psychosis," she said.

"His death as contributed to by adrenergic impact upon the heart caused during exertion and taser application where the heart was severely affected by coronary atherosclerosis, anatomical changes due to amphetamine use and cardiomyopathy.

"There is no evidence the application of the taser directly caused Mr Galeano's death.

"There is no evidence the application of oleoresin capsicum spray caused or contributed to Mr Galeano's death."

Police were called to Mr Galeano's  Brandon home about in the early hours of June 12, 2009, after he assaulted his girlfriend and severely damaged her house.

Ms Clements recommended cameras on the end of tasers and altering triggers so zaps were restricted to 5 seconds to prevent continuous electronic currents through the body.

She said police in regional and remote areas needed better training on how to deal with people suffering from mental illness or affected by drugs.

She said tasers were "akin to semi-automatic weapons" without a restriction.

Police commissioner Ian Stewart told media on Tuesday that trials with cameras did not work because they activated only when the weapon was raised and stopped when it was pointed to the ground.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Levers said the officers involved had medically retired since the incident.

He said the union supported the coroner's recommendations.

Previously: 11:22am

A CORONER will today deliver her findings into the death of a North Queensland man tasered 28 times.

Antonio Carmelo Galeano, 39, was hysterical and smashing up his girlfriend's home in Brandon when police arrived in the middle of the night in June, 2009.

A coronial inquest heard he had threatened to the kill police before launching himself towards officers, which is when one of them fired the taser.

The inquest heard Galeano, though a known drug user who was often aggressive, also had heart problems and mental health issues.

The death raised many questions about using tasers to stun people.

Deputy State Coroner Christine Clements will hand down her findings at 2.30pm in Brisbane.

This comes as the Crime and Misconduct Commission releases a report showing the frequency of taser use has increased.

But, the report says, the weapon is mostly used as a calming device without officers having to discharge.

Topics:  coronial inquest, crime and misconduct commission, taser



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