Pensioner ’shaken’ after claims police used excessive force
A PENSIONER lodged a complaint to the Crime and Corruption Commission, claiming a police officer used excessive force to remove him from his property while he was protecting it from a bushfire.
On December 6, John Kaye, 65, was wetting down the front of his 17ha Patrick Estate property in preparation for a large fire advancing quickly towards his uninsured house.
Mr Kaye said he has an extensive history fighting fires and had been feeding bore water through the middle of the property for 12 months for his cattle and in case a fire broke out.
He said rural firefighters checked in with him but left his property when he told them he had it under control.
Mr Kaye said a police car then drove past and an officer, who he later identified as being an Ipswich district officer, pulled up in front of him.
Mr Kaye said the officer demanded he leave but did not reveal his name or badge number.
"I said 'everything is under control, the fire is out there,'" Mr Kaye said.
"I said 'it's just gone past it will be right … it can't burn twice.'"
Mr Kaye claims the police officer then grabbed his arm, pulled it up behind his back and forced him into the car, with his head hitting the side of the vehicle.
As a result of a car accident when he was 21, he does not have full movement in his right shoulder and he claims he felt like his arm was being broken.
He said firefighters, who were near his property to put out a couple of spot fires, witnessed the incident.
Mr Kaye said he was driven to an evacuation spot and left inside the car.
When the officer got out, he forgot to put the handbrake on and the car rolled before the policeman jumped back to stop it.
Mr Kaye said he was terrified as the car rolled out of control and claims witnesses also saw this happen.
He sent a complaint to the Crime and Corruption Commission and letters to the Police Commissioner and Police Minister asking for action to be taken.
The CCC said it will not be taking action in relation to his complaint.
"When you're a senior citizen you can't roll with the blows, you break," Mr Kaye said.
"I'm not tough anymore really."
Apart from extensive bruising to his arm and muscle damage, Mr Kaye said he was struggling to sleep.
"At the moment I haven't slept more than two or three hours a night since then," he said.
"I have nightmares all the time. I'm shaking.
"When you own your own castle it's your safe spot. When someone come in and does that it messes with your head. No one is allowed to do that.
"I'd be the same if some robber came in here and held you at gun point to rob your house. It's not supposed to happen."
The fire burnt through part of his property but his home was saved.
Police declared an emergency declaration in Patrick Estate under the Public Safety Preservation Act on the day of the events as a result of the bushfire.
According to the legislation an emergency commander, or any police officer acting on their instructions, can direct the evacuation and exclusion of any person from any premises and for this purpose "may remove or cause to be removed (using such force as is necessary for that purpose) any person who does not comply with a direction to evacuate."
Mr Kaye said he was removed from his property before the PSPA came into effect.
He intends to take the case to court and is asking for any witnesses to step forward.
In response to Mr Kaye's complaint, the Crime and Corruption Commission said it would not be taking any action in response.
"The CCC have carefully considered the information you gave us," a letter addressed to Mr Kaye states.
"We have also obtained and considered a copy of relevant police records. We did this to ensure that we made an informed, objective assessment.
"The information available to the CCC is not enough to support the allegations you have made, or to lead the CCC to suspect that the alleged conduct occurred."
The CC recommended he complain directly to the Ethical Standards Command of the Queensland Police Service.
Mr Kaye has written letters outlining his complaint to Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll and Police Minister Mark Ryan.