The sister of a Brazilian student who died after being tasered in Sydney’s CBD has told an inquest that the level of brutality police used on him cannot be ignored.
Ana Laudisio told Glebe Coroners Court that sitting through the two-week inquest into the death of her brother, Roberto Laudisio Curti, had been one of the hardest experiences of her life.
She gave a scathing assessment of police behaviour the night he died and criticised the lack of cooperation from officers involved in revealing the truth.
“It’s shocking police acted the way they did,” she said.
We have sat here and listened to all the officers involved describe in detail how our beloved Roberto was electrocuted for almost a minute. There were times we were angry, frustrated… and we felt sick.
“Their lack of integrity disgusts me.”
Roberto Curti died in March after several officers discharged their Tasers 14 times and used capsicum spray, handcuffs and batons to restrain him after a chase through central Sydney.
He was suffering from an adverse reaction to a small amount of LSD. He had stolen two packets of biscuits from a convenience store but was unarmed.
Ms Laudisio said officers who gave evidence into what happened on March 18 were not concerned about her brother’s welfare.
Audio: Listen to Ana Laudisio (ABC News)
“They were worried about not getting their hands dirty,” she said.
“There was such a level of brutality that night that it cannot be ignored.”
Ms Laudisio said the inquest had been harrowing for her and her family.
“We have sat here and listened to all the officers involved describe in detail how our beloved Roberto was electrocuted for almost a minute, was hit with batons,” she said.
“There were times we were angry, frustrated… and we felt sick.
“What happened could have simply been avoided if some of these people had common sense.”
She also criticised the investigation into her brother’s death.
Photo: Roberto Laudisio Curti. (Facebook)
“After suffering all the devastation of our brother dying, we still had to deal with the frustration of not knowing what happened for four months, when we got the brief of evidence,” she said.
“Even more frustrating was to see the lack of cooperation among the police officers involved, their reluctance to help the family.”
Ms Laudisio said officers had been “cowardly” in telling the truth about what happened on the night her brother died and she questioned why so many were allowed to carry Tasers.
“How can junior officers with only a few months’ experience be allowed to carry and use dangerous weapons at their own discretion?” she said.
“Wouldn’t it be better to have fewer officers well trained and able to respond appropriately.
“It could happen again, a young man’s life could again be taken simply because people are too proud and arrogant to change.”
Coroner Mary Jerram expressed her condolences to Ms Laudisio, her sister Maria and uncle Domingos Laudisio.
“Just know we won’t forget Roberto, and we won’t forget you,” she said.
The coroner gave permission for the family’s presentation to be recorded and broadcast.
Video: Tracy Bowden looks back at the events of the night Roberto Curti died (7.30)
Roberto Curti’s uncle, Domingos Laudisio, has told 7:30 that all along he has wanted the inquest to find the truth of what happened to his nephew.
“It is tough, believe me, I have been trained all my life to be very straight, very calm, but this is quite an experience. it is extremely distressful, extremely distressful,” he said.
Mr Laudisio insisted the inquest show graphic footage of Roberto’s final moments as police tasered him on the ground.
“The decision was to show everybody the difference between what was on that film and what was on the police reports,” he said.
“That was my personal decision even against some members of the family, I insisted on it.”
The footage shows Roberto Laudisio Curti on the ground and hand-cuffed when Senior Constable Eric Lim recycled his Taser and fired a second time.
Another officer had a knee on Mr Curti’s abdomen.
“Roberto was yelling in pain he was handcuffed they were still drive stunning tasering him,” Mr Laudisio said.
“I’m not saying [Roberto] was right, his behaviour was inappropriate but that film was unbelievable, unbelievable.”
The inquest heard that two officers applied Tasers directly to his body almost simultaneously in bursts of up to 14 seconds.
7.30 By court reporter Jamelle Wells and Tracy Bowden
Updated Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:23am AEDT
Copyright © 2012 Fairfax Media