US politician calls for police reform as protests continue over death of Daunte Wright


High-ranking Congress member Maxine Waters called for an overhaul of policing in the United States as she joined the seventh consecutive night of protests in a Minneapolis suburb over the death of Daunte Wright, a young black man shot dead by a white policewoman.

The 20-year-old was killed during what should have been a routine traffic stop, sparking anger and fresh protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

“Policing has got to be changed,” Ms Waters, chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, said Saturday shortly before the 11 pm curfew.

“We’ve got to reimagine how we can deal with the problems of our society, that young people and people of colour in particular getting killed by police that we pay to protect and serve us.”

Representative Maxine Waters joins demonstrators in a protest outside the Brooklyn Center police station on 17 April, 2021 in Minnesota.

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Ms Waters, a Democrat from California, was speaking to a crowd of nearly 300 people outside the Brooklyn Center Police Station.

Protesters have gathered every night since the killing of Mr Wright in a neighbourhood about 16 kilometres north of Minneapolis.

Unlike Friday night, when police in riot gear moved to disperse what was declared an unlawful demonstration and arrested at least 100 people – including some journalists – Saturday’s gathering appeared to remain peaceful.

Protesters stood alongside the chain-link fence around the police station, chanting “Shut It Down” and waving “Black Lives Matter” flags, but did not appear to try to breach the barrier.

“I’m here because we are tired of police brutality. We are tired of seeing unarmed black men lose their lives for no reason,” protester Joel Reeves told AFP.

Mr Wright was shot dead in his car after police veteran Kim Potter mistook her Taser for a gun during a traffic stop caught on bodycam.

Ms Potter was arrested Wednesday on manslaughter charges and faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Tensions running high in Minneapolis

The previous evening, journalists covering the protest said police impeded their work and used pepper spray against some members of the media who had identified themselves as such.

The alleged mistreatment came despite a temporary restraining order signed earlier on Friday by US District Judge Wilhelmina Wright prohibiting the police from arresting journalists or targeting them with flash-bang grenades, non-lethal projectiles, riot batons and chemical agents including pepper spray.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said he had held a meeting Saturday with journalists and law enforcement officers.

“A free press is foundational to our democracy,” he tweeted.

“I convened a meeting today with media and law enforcement to determine a better path forward to protect the journalists covering civil unrest.”

Tensions are running especially high in Minneapolis with closing arguments expected Monday in the closely watched trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, a black man, in the city last year.

Since then, fresh examples of police killings – including Mr Wright’s not far from the courtroom – have stoked more anger and protests.



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Adam Toledo: Chicago police release video of officer shooting boy


Chicago police have released graphic footage of an officer shooting dead a 13-year-old boy in a dark alley.

Bodycam video shows the policeman shouting “drop it” before shooting Adam Toledo once in the chest on 29 March.

The boy does not appear to be holding a weapon in the split second he is shot, but police video shows a handgun near the spot where he falls.

Small protests were held on Thursday evening around Chicago, hours after the city’s mayor appealed for calm.

The video’s release follows the fatal police shooting on 11 April of Daunte Wright by an officer in a Minneapolis suburb.

That shooting has sparked violent protests as the city awaits the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer accused in the death of George Floyd.

The clip shows the officer jumping out of his squad car and chasing the Latino boy on foot down a dark alley as another suspect disappears from view.

The policeman shouts: “Police! Stop! Stop right [expletive] now! Hands! Hands! Show me your [expletive] hands!”

The boy turns and raises his hands. The officer shouts “Drop it” and fires his weapon – 19 seconds after exiting his squad car.

Separate CCTV footage appears to show the teenager throwing something through a gap in the fence as the officer runs up to him. Bodycam video shows officers shining a light on a handgun behind the wooden fence after the shooting.

The policeman calls for an ambulance while urging the fallen boy to “stay awake”. Other officers arrive at the scene in the Little Village neighbourhood on the city’s west side and CPR is performed.

According to prosecutors, the teenager was with a 21-year-old man, Ruben Roman, who had just fired a gun at a passing car. The gunfire drew police to the area, resulting in the deadly confrontation.

Mr Roman appeared in court on Saturday charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, reckless discharge of a firearm and child endangerment, according to local media reports.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability released the bodycam footage on Thursday along with CCTV video, arrest reports and audio recordings of the shots fired in the area that alerted police.

Shortly before the video was released, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a press conference where she called the footage “excruciating” to watch.

“Simply put, we failed Adam,” she said. “And we cannot afford to fail one more young person in our city.”

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Brett Forte’s killer Ricky Maddison was ‘shocked’ to hear the police officer died


Senior Constable Forte died after Ricky Maddison fired two full magazines at police cars during a pursuit from Toowoomba to the Lockyer Valley in May 2017.

Maddison was later shot by police after at least 85 attempts to have him surrender during a 20-hour siege.

Coroner Terry Ryan is investigating the circumstances of both deaths.

Detective Senior Sergeant Anthony Buxton from Ethical Standards Command was the investigating officer who focused on Maddison’s death.

He told the court that after Senior Constable Forte’s death, Maddison was walking around the property discharging a gun.

“Thirty rounds at a time … indiscriminately,” Detective Senior Sergeant Buxton said.

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Police scene of suspicious death at Gold Coast



Police open crime scene at Gold Coast home following a suspicious death. Credit: Greg Stolz

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NT Police say teenager stabbed with large blade is undergoing emergency surgery



Northern Territory Police say a 17-year-old is undergoing emergency surgery at Royal Darwin Hospital after being allegedly stabbed in the back with a 38-centimetre blade in the early hours of the morning.

Police said they were called to a domestic disturbance in Karama about 12:10am, where they found the teenager with the large blade still lodged in his lower back.

A 20-year-old-man was taken to the Palmerston Watchhouse and will be charged today, police said.

NT Police watch commander Len Turner said the incident was believed to be domestic violence-related.

A statement from NT Police this morning said the alleged offender was known to the victim.

Police are calling for any witnesses to the incident to come forward.

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Chicago police shot and killed child, 13, who had his hands up



The incident, along with Sunday’s fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb and the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the May 2020 death of George Floyd, has raised tensions in Chicago.

“Chicago, as well as way too many parts of our country, has a long legacy of police violence and police misconduct that have left far too many residents, especially those who are Black and brown, in a constant state of fear and pain,” Lightfoot said.

City officials urged people to remain calm as they prepared for civil unrest following the release of the video footage. They said more police officers and city equipment would be in place to protect businesses during any unrest. Like some other American cities, Chicago experienced riots and looting after Floyd’s death, which was also caught on video.

Toledo’s family said in a statement released to local media that they appreciated the support they had received from the community and were grateful that protests in Chicago over the last few days remained peaceful.

“We pray that for the sake of our city, people remain peaceful to honor Adam’s memory and work constructively to promote reform,” the family said.



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Eastern Freeway truck driver sentenced in the Supreme Court over crash that killed four Victoria Police officers


Truck driver Mohinder Singh has learnt his fate over a crash that killed four police officers on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway.

Singh was short on sleep and high on drugs when he crashed a 19-tonne semi-trailer into the officers who had pulled over Porsche driver Richard Pusey on April 22 in 2020.

More details on the sentencing in the video above

Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney died at the scene.

On Wednesday, almost a year to the day since the crash, Singh was sentenced in the Supreme Court.

He was sentenced to 22 years jail with a non-parole period of 18 years.

The courtroom was at capacity for the sentencing with family members of the officers present.

“There are events that shock the public conscience, this has been such an event,” Justice Paul Coghlan said.

Following the sentence, Josh Prestney’s father Andrew read a statement on behalf of the four families.

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Mayor Calls for Calm as Chicago Awaits Video of Police Fatally Shooting 13-Year-Old


Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago issued an emotional appeal for calm on Thursday as officials prepared to release video of a police officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy.

“We must proceed with deep empathy and calm and importantly, peace,” Ms. Lightfoot said, her voice breaking as she talked about the pain of losing a child to gun violence. The mayor, who had watched what she said were several videos, called the experience “excruciating.”

“No family should ever have a video broadcast widely of their child’s last moments, much less be placed in the terrible situation of losing their child in the first place,” she said.

Footage from a Chicago Police officer’s body camera was expected to be released later on Thursday amid mounting tension nationally over police misconduct and racism. The video’s release in Chicago comes as the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, is underway in Minneapolis and as another Minnesota officer, Kimberly A. Potter, was charged in the death on Sunday of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old motorist.

In Chicago, the shooting involved one of the youngest people fatally shot by the police in Illinois in years: Adam Toledo, 13, was shot by the police last month in Little Village, a predominantly Latino neighborhood on the city’s West Side. According to law enforcement authorities, Adam was running down an alley with a gun in his hand and ignored an officer’s command to stop and drop the gun.

During a news conference in Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot, flanked by community activists who echoed her appeal for calm, declined to say whether the boy was holding a gun, saying that people should judge for themselves after watching the video.

“I see no evidence whatsoever that Adam Toledo shot at police,” the mayor said. She noted that a slowed-down version of the tape would be released, with the approval of the family, because the raw footage was extremely jumpy and hard to follow.

Ms. Lightfoot urged residents to wait to react until the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, the independent agency that investigates encounters with the department, had finished its work. She acknowledged that Chicago residents had a long history of grappling with police misconduct, causing “fear and pain” in the city, which the difficult year of the pandemic had only compounded.

COPA initially resisted releasing the video footage of the shooting that took place on March 29, citing the age of the boy. Faced with days of public pressure, officials reversed themselves and announced they would release it.

Adam’s family was permitted to view the video privately on Tuesday night. Afterward, the family issued a statement calling the experience “extremely difficult and heartbreaking for everyone present.”

Even before the video was to be released, the boy’s killing had set off protests and severe criticism of the Chicago Police Department.

After the shooting, Mayor Lightfoot called on the Police Department to create a policy for foot pursuits by officers.

She also said in a series of posts on Twitter that “we must release any relevant videos as soon as possible,” adding that “transparency and speed are crucial” in such a sensitive investigation. In December, Ms. Lightfoot apologized after criticism when her administration attempted to block the airing of body-camera footage from a botched police raid.

Details of the events that led to the shooting of the 13-year-old have only begun to come to light. Ruben Roman, a 21-year-old who the authorities said was with Adam at the time of the shooting, appeared in a Cook County courtroom on Saturday. He was charged with felony reckless discharge, unlawful use of a weapon and child endangerment, and held on a $150,000 bond.

Prosecutors described the incident in detail for the first time on Saturday. According to their account, video captures Mr. Roman and Adam walking together down a street on the West Side around 2:30 a.m. on March 29. Mr. Roman, holding a gun, appears to fire several shots at an unknown target.

The Chicago police said that two officers who responded to reports of gunfire in the Little Village neighborhood saw two people in an alley and started chasing them. One officer fatally shot Adam, prosecutors said, after he turned toward the officer while holding a gun.

His mother later said that she thought Adam, a seventh-grader at Gary Elementary School, was safely in his room at the time. He had been missing for several days, she said, but had come home and gone into the room that he shared with his brother.

The shooting tapped into a tide of anguish and frustration in Chicago neighborhoods that have been gripped by gun violence. Chicago, like other American cities, has struggled to stem a surge in shootings during the coronavirus pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 131 homicides, the most violent start to a year since 2017.

That follows a particularly violent 2020, with almost 800 murders, after 492 in 2019, according to Chicago police records. The city experienced 567 murders in 2018 and 658 in 2017. As murders climbed last summer, children were often caught in the crossfire; in one two-week period, nine children were killed.

Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman contributed reporting.



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Truck driver who killed four police officers in Eastern Freeway crash jailed for 22 years


Mohinder Singh, who was high and severely sleep deprived when he ploughed his prime mover into four police officers on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway, has been jailed for 22 years.

Singh, 48, was ordered to spend at least 18 years and six months behind bars over the crash in April last year, which killed Constables Glen Humphris and Joshua Prestney, Senior Constable Kevin King and Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor.

The crash was the single greatest loss of life in Victoria Police’s history and today’s sentence means an end to the tragic chapter is now in sight, just days from the one-year anniversary.

In sentencing the father of two, Justice Paul Coghlan told the Supreme Court of Victoria that the incident had profoundly changed the lives of four families.

“The police officers had no hope,” Justice Coghlan said.

“Their deaths are entirely unnecessary and should have been avoided. Their deaths were caused by you.”

Singh has already served 357 days behind bars.

After the sentence was handed down, Constable Prestney’s father, Andrew Prestney, read out a statement on behalf of the victims’ families, thanking the first responders and police for their work and the Australian public for its “outpouring of love”.

“Even though justice has now been served in relation to the actual collision, no amount of punishment can replace the loss of our loved ones and the missing place at our tables that will be felt by us for the rest of our lives,” he said.

“We are consoled by the fact that our four will not be forgotten as we continue to carry them in our hearts.”

On April 22 last year, Leading Senior Constable Taylor and First Constable Humphris pulled over Melbourne man Richard Pusey for driving his Porsche at 149 kilometres per hour on the Eastern Freeway.

Two other officers — Senior Constable King and Constable Prestney — then arrived at the scene and were standing in an emergency lane when the truck, driven by Singh, veered into the lane, killing all four.

In the moments after the crash, Singh was heard wailing: “Oh no, oh no.”

He pleaded guilty to eight charges, including culpable driving causing death and drug trafficking.

It has since been revealed that Singh was seriously sleep deprived, with the court hearing that he could have only had five hours of rest in the three days before the collision.

He was also a prolific ice user, a habit which had made him actively psychotic at the time, causing him to see witches and believe in aliens.

His lawyer, Peter Morrissey SC, also told the Supreme Court that his client had allegedly received “significant pressure” from his boss, trucking manager Simiona Tuteru, to deliver one more load.

Mr Morrissey told the court that the men prayed together before Mr Tuteru allegedly said: “You are now healed, now take those chickens to Thomastown.”

Mr Tuteru has been charged with manslaughter over the crash but is planning to contest the allegations against him.

Singh has apologised to the families of the four police officers.

Justice Coghlan said the collision was burnt into the minds of many Victorians.

“There are events which shock the public conscience. This has been such an event,” the judge said. 

“The unnecessary loss of the lives of four serving police officers, simply going about their duty, is a matter of huge community sorrow and regret.”

Justice Coghlan said he had watched the footage of the crash, which he described as “chilling”.

“It shows the inherent danger police officers face while going about relatively routine dangers,” he said.

“You drove to keep your job.

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WA man charged with ordering live-distance child abuse


This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police Force

A 70-year-old man who allegedly ordered live-distance child abuse from the Philippines is expected to appear in Geraldton Magistrates Court today (15 April 2021), charged by the Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team with 68 offences.

The man is accused of making more than 860 payments to multiple entities in the Philippines for purposes including to procure children to be sexually abused, with this abuse allegedly committed on camera for him to watch live from his home in WA’s Mid-West.

Records allegedly show the man sent more than $443,000 overseas but it is still being assessed how much was allegedly spent on child abuse material.

WA JACET, which comprises Australian Federal Police and WA Police Force members, first arrested and charged the 70-year-old in September 2020 after he was allegedly identified from financial data collected during a separate child protection investigation in South Australia.

When officers searched the man’s Geraldton home on 21 September (2020), they allegedly found child abuse material on two devices and records of Skype chats that were allegedly consistent with the procurement of children for live-distance child abuse.

The man was charged with two counts of possessing child abuse material obtained through a carriage service. He was placed on bail with strict conditions that included not to access the internet except for banking, legal or employment purposes; not to access social media and no unsupervised access to children.

Further inquiries and digital analysis of seized devices resulted in WA JACET arresting the man at his home yesterday (14 April 2021) and charging him with 68 offences relating to the alleged live-distance child abuse.

The man was refused bail to face court today. The charges are:

39 counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child outside Australia, contrary to section 272.9(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); Seven counts of procuring a child outside Australia for sexual activity, contrary to section 272.14 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); 12 counts of using a carriage service to access child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); (previous legislation) Six counts of using a carriage service to solicit child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); (previous legislation) Four counts of using a carriage service to procure a child for sexual activity, contrary to section 474.26(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalties for these offences range up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

WA JACET is liaising with AFP officers in Manila and Philippine authorities to identify child victims and remove them from harm and identify any alleged child abuse facilitators.

AFP Acting Inspector Joel Van Den Brun said child sex offenders are not restricted by national or international borders – but neither is law enforcement.

“We work closely with partners around the globe to to bring to justice anyone who preys on children, no matter where in the world they are hiding,” Acting Inspector Joel Van Den Brun said.

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report it online.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Note to media:

Use of term ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase “child pornography” is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and conjures images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

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