The man, who was being held under the Mental Health Act, fled a nearby hospital. Source: Troy Snook/News Corp Australia.
The man, who was being held under the Mental Health Act, fled a nearby hospital. Source: Troy Snook/News Corp Australia.

‘Violent confrontation’ before taser death

POLICE say a mental health patient who died after being tasered yesterday had a "violent confrontation" with officers earlier in the day.

The 30-year-old man died after he collapsed while being arrested in Sydney's inner west, sparking a police internal investigation.

Officers were called to a street in Newtown after a man, who was being held under the Mental Health Act, fled a nearby hospital.

Today, NSW Police's Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, told reporters that the man was disorientated and at risk of being hit by cars.

"Police approached the man who resisted police and attempted to run away," said Assistant Commissioner Walton. "The violent confrontation continued which required additional police to restrain the man. He was ultimately brought under control and assessed by NSW ambulance officers."

A witness said she saw 15 officers on top of the man. Picture: Damian Shaw.
A witness said she saw 15 officers on top of the man. Picture: Damian Shaw.

He added that the man had to be "chemically sedated" by paramedics and physically restrained on a stretcher before he was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown.

It's understood the man had fled from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown before he walked into a Sydney University classroom and told students: "I am an angel".

Police shut down roads in the area to search for the man after being called to Camperdown at about 1.30pm. Police said the man resisted arrest from officers.

A witness said she saw 15 officers "on top of him" during the incident.

"My gut feeling was that maybe they used a bit of excessive force trying to arrest him," she told the Seven Network.

"He looked like he may have been a big man but still, and they pulled him back up which made it even worse."

However, Assistant Commissioner Walton said that three police officers were initially involved in trying to restrain him, before another three officers became involved. He added that capsicum spray and a taser were used.

"I understand six police have had direct contact with him while he was still resisting," Mr Walton said.

"The man continued to struggle with police for a number of minutes until he was handcuffed.

"Shortly after the man lost consciousness and stopped breathing.

The incident is now being investigated internally. Picture: Troy Snook.
The incident is now being investigated internally. Picture: Troy Snook.

"Police commenced first aid including CPR and a short time later, an ambulance attended taking over treatment and taking the man to RPA hospital.

"Unfortunately attempts to revive the man were unsuccessful."

When asked why the capsicum spray and taser had been used, Assistant Commissioner Walton said that the man was very large in size.

"He's a large man, somewhere in the vicinity of 120kg and over six-foot tall (1.8m) and he was resisting police and in the circumstances, the police have apparently determined it was appropriate to use those instruments to attempt to detain him," he said.

"The officers in this circumstance were acting to try and look after someone.

"Unfortunately it's not the outcome anyone looks towards and its certainly not what anyone wants."

News Corp Australia

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