WA Police officer stood aside following CCC investigation into Fremantle tasering incident

A still image from the incident.
A still image from the incident.

A WA Police officer has been stood aside following a Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) investigation of two incidents where officers used excessive force.

One of the incidents included a tasering on March 31, 2017 in Fremantle.

During the incident, a Senior Constable known only as Keenan pulled over a driver for a random breath test, attempted to pull the keys from the ignition and tasered the driver.

He has been stood aside while WA Police undertake a review of the matters raised in the CCC report.

The driver and two others were headed to Fremantle in a Jeep when the vehicle was stopped as part of a random breath test.

He was asked to pull into a nearby public carpark as the car had a broken windscreen and was fitted with accessories which apparently did not comply with regulations.

The driver was told he was free to leave, however lights flashed from the car, Constable Keenan attempted to take the keys from the ignition and tasered the driver.

The driver was subsequently arrested and held in lockup, but released with no charges.

A passenger in the car filmed the incident, which the commission has released.

A report tabled to Parliament today said that Constable Keenan did not have the power to request Mr Holt (the driver) to stop or take his car keys.

“Snr Constable Keenan’s attempt to take the keys was unlawful,” the report said.

“In the Commission’s opinion, Snr Constable Keenan’s actions in tasering, then arresting Mr Holt were unlawful.

“They were unreasonable and oppressive.”

Another Senior Constable is being investigated for taking off her name badge and hiding her face to stop her being identified in the video footage.

“Snr Constable Arnold could not satisfactorily explain the removal of her name badge from her uniform, something she says she did not notice for three months until interviewed on July 6, 2017. She said she owned 10 name badges and had lost two others,” the report said.

“At no point was Snr Constable Arnold engaged in a physical struggle. As she demonstrated to the Commission, the velcro badge is not easy to remove.

“The probabilities are that Snr Constable Arnold deliberately removed her name badge as a continuation of her desire not to be identified.”

A criminal investigation by the traffic enforcement group, a managerial review and a professional conduct investigation unit review were conducted.

The CCC raised concerns about the police investigation, which led it to commence an independent investigation into the incident.

The report stated the Commission’s opinion was that the criminal investigation barely skimmed the surface of the issues.

“The investigation did not appropriately weigh the evidence available and was an inadequate response to a very serious allegation,” the report said.