Cop dismissed for assault on man who called him a coward
A former police officer, who assaulted a man who called him a coward and inappropriately tasered another man, his lost his appeal against his dismissal.
Matthew Shawn Lewis, a former senior constable, was charged with assaulting a man while he was escorting him out of the Toowoomba watchhouse in 2017.
A tribunal heard Lewis punched the man in the head, after he called him a coward, as the man was being released on bail.
Lewis then pushed the man out of the watchhouse and again struck him in the head, with a closed fist, as the man lay on the ground.
Lewis then threw the man's property out the door and left the man lying on the ground, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.
In July, 2017, Lewis pleaded guilty to common assault and was placed on a $1500 12-month good behaviour bond.
Lewis later faced a disciplinary charge of improper conduct, for using excessive force and failing to treat the man with dignity and respect.
The tribunal heard Lewis had been sent to work at Toowoomba watchhouse after an earlier incident that year, when he tasered a man.
Lewis had gone to a Toowoomba address, after police received reports of a man attempting to break into a car, the tribunal heard.
By the time he arrived, a motorcycle officer, who had confronted the solidly built man, had the situation under control, telling the man to wait in a yard.
When Lewis arrived, without consulting the other officer, he went straight towards the man, withdrew his taser and tried to discharge it, but was unsuccessful.
The man then had his arms outspread and was standing still when Lewis discharged the taser, in probe mode, without warning the man, the tribunal heard.
When the tasered man fell into a rose bush, Lewis then put his right foot on the back of his head and handcuffed him.
The tribunal found there was no tactical necessity for the discharge of the taser in the circumstances.
"The only resistance being offered at the time by (the man) was passive resistance," a tribunal member said.
"That should have been clear to Mr Lewis, given his experience and training."
Lewis, a qualified taser instructor, should have been aware that administering an electric shock with a taser carried a risk of serious injury or death, the member said.
Lewis faced a disciplinary charge of using excessive force.
A Deputy Commissioner found both charges of improper behaviour substantiated, that Lewis's behaviour amounted to misconduct and he was dismissed on August 7, last year.
Lewis challenged the dismissal and the finding of misconduct over the tasering incident, but the tribunal found his behaviour amounted to misconduct.
The tribunal member said Lewis had been transferred to Toowoomba Watchhouse whilst the taser incident was being investigated.
"He knew he should have been on his best behaviour, yet despite that was unable to exercise physical control when verbally provoked by a prisoner," the member said.
Lewis said he had no previous disciplinary history in over a decade of service.
He had spent nine years stationed in Brisbane, including more than 18 months with the G20 Planning Group and six months relieving as an acting Sergeant.
He was officer-in-charge of a busy one-man station south of Toowoomba at the time of the taser incident.
The member said allowing Lewis to remain a serving police officer would not maintain public confidence in the police service or serve as a guide to other serving officers.
On August 17, the member confirmed the dismissal decision.
Originally published as Cop dismissed for assault on man who called him a coward