Assault charges may be brought against police in death of student

Dec. 14, 2013 at 1:23 PM   |   0 comments

SYDNEY, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Four Australian police officers involved in the death of a Brazilian student are expected to be charged with assault, a prosecutor says.

The family of Roberto Laudisio Curti had been calling for manslaughter charges, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. But the director of public prosecutions announced Friday there is evidence to charge two with assault and two with assault involving bodily harm.

Curti, 21, died in March 2012 after being shot with a stun gun several times in a struggle with police in Sydney that also involved pepper spray, nightsticks and "half a ton" of officers, according to evidence at an inquest in October 2012. The coroner, Mary Jerram, described police behavior as "thuggish" and said officers' actions caused Curti's death.

The incident began when Curti, under the influence of LSD, jumped over a counter and stole two packs of cookies from a convenience store. Police, responding to a false report of an armed robbery, got into a violent confrontation with him.

Domingos Laudisio, an uncle who brought Curti up after his parents died, called Friday's announcement "a very important step ahead." But he said there should be a deeper investigation into the case to determine if manslaughter is an appropriate charge.

Curti was living with his sister and brother-in-law in Australia while studying there.

Formal charges are expected next week, the Herald said.

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