Death of Tyler Cassidy
|Date||11 December 2008|
|Location||All Nations Park
Northcote, Victoria, Australia
|Type||Death by police shooting|
Senior Constable Colin Dods
Senior Constable Richard Blundell
Constable Antonia Ferrante
Constable Nicole De Propertis
|This section requires expansion. (December 2013)|
Tyler Jordan Cassidy was shot by police and died on 11 December 2008 at All Nations Park in Northcote, Victoria. He was 15 years old. Before the shooting Cassidy had armed himself with two large knives which he had stolen from a nearby shopping centre and threatened members of the public, insisting that they call the police. In the park, police demanded that Cassidy drop the knives, but he did not. After attempting to subdue Cassidy twice with OC spray, three officers fired ten shots, with five of these striking Cassidy.
The Coroners Court of Victoria reported that there was much media coverage of the incident and that the death of a 15-year-old boy "at the hands of the Victorian Police both shocked and bewildered the community". The competence and impartiality of the internal police investigation was questioned. The Coroner's Inquest heard 34 days of evidence from 63 witnesses and the brief of evidence was 3,710 pages long.
From the inquest: "He [Cassidy] had been capsicum-sprayed twice without effect and advanced on an officer who became trapped at the top of a skate park bowl, the coroner found. Three of the police fired at him after a warning shot and several shots at his legs failed to stop Tyler moving forward with the knives towards [Leading Senior Constable Colin Dods]. Tyler had been drinking excessively during the night and was found to have a post mortem blood alcohol level of between 0.09g/100ml and 0.11g/100ml."
State Coroner Jennifer Coate rejected a submission from Cassidy's family that the officers used disproportionate force worthy of criminal charges, or that Cassidy had been standing still when he was fatally shot.
The incident was blamed on a lack of training and information gathering performed by Victoria Police. Subsequently, all police officers who might come into contact with armed individuals in the course of duty are required to undergo a two-day training course twice a year.
Following the closing of the case by Australian police and determining that the officers acted within the bounds of their duty, Cassidy's mother, Shani Cassidy, appealed to the United Nations for a review of the process by which fatal police shootings are investigated by the Victoria Police Homicide Squad. The author of the UN submission, Anna Brown, expected no additional evidence regarding the investigation to be elicited. Among the complaints are allegations of poor investigative police work. Three of the four police officers involved attended a police function where alcohol was served the night before the fatal shooting occurred, but no alcohol or drug testing was administered at the time of the incident. Ten shots were fired but no bullets were recovered from the crime scene. Dods received a private phone call from his commanding officer immediately after the event; an issue Dods himself was highly critical about when cross examined. Gunshot residue testing was significantly delayed, possibly leading to inconclusive results. No reconstruction was requested of the officers.
Shani Cassidy has also raised concerns over the integrity of Victoria Police. She alleges that her son's name was disclosed to the media as well as a "demonising" report of the incident within less than three hours of it occurring. Assistant Commissioner Cartwright, then the appointed officer for communicating with the media regarding the event, has been accused of disclosing Cassidy's name by the family's counsel, but Victoria Police has strongly denied these accusations.
At one time Shani Cassidy was secretly recorded by homicide detectives during an interview. Her request to the UN raised her concern that following the incident Victoria Police attempted to exculpate themselves.
The Age reported that this Wikipedia page about the incident was edited by Victoria Police at least 17 times, including as recently as November 2014, to give a more favourable impression of their officers' conduct and the subsequent investigation.
- Rintoul, Stuart (24 November 2011). "Police cleared over shooting of Melbourne teen Tyler Cassidy". The Australian. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- Farouque, Farah (3 November 2010), "'Just shoot me, I want to die': inquest told of Tyler's final moments", The Age (Melbourne), retrieved 16 December 2013
- "Court reference 5542/08" (PDF). Inquest into the death of Tyler Jordan Cassidy. Coroners Court of Victoria. 23 November 2011.
- "Court reference 5542/08". Inquest into the death of Tyler Jordan Cassidy. Coroners Court of Victoria. 23 November 2011.
- Bonighton, Ron (November 2012). Policing people who appear to be mentally ill (PDF) (Report). p. 32.
- Brown, Anna; Cassidy, Shani (2013), Individual communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (PDF), Human Rights Law Centre, retrieved 4 December 2013
- Davies, Julie-Anne; Rout, Milanda (13 December 2008), "Call for answers after cops kill 15-year-old Tyler Cassidy", The Australian, retrieved 4 December 2013
- Cassidy, Shani (2013), They didn't even ask him his name: Complete statement from Shani Cassidy regarding UN Communication, Human Rights Law Centre, retrieved 16 December 2013
- The Age newspaper, 1 June 2015.