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Australian police to be charged over fatal arrest

December 13, 2013

SYDNEY (AP) — Four Australian police officers will be charged with assaulting a 21-year-old Brazilian student who died while being arrested in Sydney last year, an anti-corruption official said in Friday.

Roberto Laudisio Curti died in the early hours of March 18 last year after New South Wales state police shocked him with Tasers up to 14 times. Police also used capsicum spray, handcuffs and a baton against him after chasing him on foot through downtown Sydney.

The Police Integrity Unit will charge four policemen with assault causing bodily harm and common assault, said Pru Sheaves, a spokeswoman for the police corruption watchdog. The charges carry prison sentences of seven and two years, respectively.

Curti’s death has already been the subject of several inquiries.

Coroner Mary Jerram found the officers had acted “thuggishly” and rejected some of their evidence.

An autopsy failed to identify the direct cause of death. Jerram concluded last year that Curti — a former resident of Sao Paulo who had lived in his sister’s Sydney home for a year while studying English — had died of “undetermined causes.”

Curti had taken the illicit drug LSD and was acting bizarrely before he was pursued by police over allegations that he had stolen cookies from a convenience store. The theft had been inaccurately reported to police as an armed robbery.

The corruption watchdog said the state’s chief prosecutor had advised that there was sufficient evidence to support the charges.

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