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The NSW Police Commissioner has thrown his support behind officers who wrongfully arrested Canberra Raiders player Curtis Scott, despite a judge describing footage of the incident as ‘sickening’ and Scott set to launch civil proceedings against police.
Scott, who joined the Raiders from the Melbourne last off-season, was found passed out drunk under a tree by police in Sydney’s Moore Park in January.
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After attempting to wake him up, officers handcuffed and pepper sprayed the disoriented Scott, also stunning him with a taser, all while he was sitting on the ground.
Police were later left red faced when footage of the arrest was played in court, with the judge throwing out several charges, including two counts of assaulting a police officer, and describing the bungled arrest as ‘sickening’.
Despite the embarrassing criticism, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told 2GB he was ‘sympathetic to police’ while avoiding answering a questions as to whether it was appropriate for officers to use a taser on a man who was sitting handcuffed on the ground.
“I watched the entirety of the event and I think sometimes you need to watch the entirety of the event to get it in context,’’ Fuller said.
“In these situations, if someone is trespassing in your front yard, they are asleep, they are intoxicated, they’re a young fit man, there are only a couple of ways to get them out.
“And one of those is for them to stand up and come with you.
“Often in these situations, it does escalate — there’s nothing we can do about that, if the individual is not going to comply with a reasonable direction.”
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Scott is reportedly set to sue the NSW Police for more than $100,000 in damages over the incident.
Magistrate Jennifer Giles said she did not have the “stomach” to watch the 22-year-old being tasered a third time after two separate videos showed Scott being pepper-sprayed and tasered after he was handcuffed.
A drunk and disorientated Scott can be heard saying “I'm getting dressed” before repeating that he has “done nothing wrong”.
Trying but failing to drag him onto his feet police administer pepper spray into his face which causes him to moan and yell he is “f***ing dying”. He swats police away with his hands in cuffs.
Mr Macedone says the tasering that follows was inappropriate and unwarranted after Scott followed officers' instruction not to resist arrest and merely “raised his voice”.