Police investigation of Redfern death compromised

A shooting in Redfern today is a sombre reminder for the need of independent investigations into police related deaths. The Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, is highly critical about the current practice of police units conducting primary investigations and preparing evidence briefs for the Coroner in such cases.

“No one is questioning that police officers face very difficult and dangerous situations and of course community safety should always be their priority. What we are saying though, is that incidents like this – where a member of the public has died – should be investigated independently of the police,” Ms Brown said.

Although the cause of death is yet to be confirmed, the man has died after police discharged a number of shots from firearms, as he drove a small truck through a pedestrian thoroughfare near Redfern station and reportedly ran into a pedestrian.

In this case, the homicide squad of the NSW police will be investigating the death.

“Police cannot effectively investigate themselves. Australia needs an independent body to investigate police related deaths. This would not only be the common sense approach, but it would also be consistent with international human rights law,” Ms Brown said

A notable recent example is the investigation into the shooting death of mentally ill Adam Salter by NSW police. That investigation is now the subject of a Police Integrity Commission inquiry, after findings by the NSW Coroner that the initial investigation was, at best, “deeply flawed”.


For further comments contact Anna Brown on 0422 235 522 or anna.brown@hrlc.org.au