Tyler Cassidy : Suicide-by-cop?

The suicide-by-cop thesis look like it’s getting a good run… while the claim by Dr James Saleam of the ‘Australia First Party’ that Corrupt Political Police ‘Intelligence’ Killed Tyler Cassidy appears not to have been taken seriously: proof, if any was needed, that corrupt political police ‘intelligence’ killed Tyler Cassidy.

Suicide by cop
Farah Farouque
The Age
March 23, 2011

Police shootings scrutinised
Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker
The Age
March 23, 2011

Police chief worried about ‘suicide by cop’
ABC
March 16, 2010

When the police are the wrong people to investigate
Emily Howie
The Age
March 16, 2011

Tyler Cassidy’s death ‘suicide by cop’, coroner told
Mark Dunn
Herald Sun
March 11, 2011

Coroner retires to consider finding in police teen shooting inquest
Alison Caldwell
PM (ABC)
March 11, 2011

Tyler wanted to kill, inquest told
Farah Farouque
The Age
March 11, 2011

Cassidy death inquest adjourned
ABC
March 11, 2011

Family denies ‘suicide by cop’
Stuart Rintoul
The Australian
March 11, 2011

Police killing was assault, not suicide, says family
Farah Farouque
The Age
March 11, 2011

Tyler Cassidy’s death homicide, not suicide, inquest hears
Mark Dunn
Herald Sun
March 11, 2011

Coroner urged to consider suicide finding in police shooting
Alison Caldwell
ABC
March 10, 2011

Victorian cops lacked ‘good sense’ in teen death
Herald Sun/AAP
March 10, 2011

Tyler’s death ‘was homicide’, inquest told
Farah Farouque
The Age
March 10, 2011

Cops ‘partly to blame’ for shooting death of Tyler Cassidy, inquest told
Herald Sun/AAP
March 10, 2011

Coroner asked to consider Cassidy suicide finding
Guy Stayner
ABC
March 10, 2011

Suicide finding sought on Tyler
Farah Farouque
The Age
March 8, 2011

Tyler Cassidy, Southern Cross Soldiers and ‘skinheads’

Last week, the inquest into Tyler Cassidy’s death heard evidence regarding Tyler’s membership of the ‘Southern Cross Soldiers’ (Tyler Cassidy had been kicked out of an Australian pride group, inquest told, AAP, October 21, 2010).

The SCS have been variously described as “an anti-immigration group” (Alison Caldwell, ABC, October 19), a “Right-wing nationalist youth group” (Paul Anderson, Herald Sun, October 22) and an “ultra-nationalist group” (Farah Farouque, The Age, October 22). The status of Tyler’s membership in the group has been somewhat obscure, with contradictory claims being made. For example:

…Aaron McGenniskin told the inquest… Tyler had been left very upset when he was kicked out of the nationalist organisation Southern Cross Soldiers in the months before he died.

“He was pretty shattered,” Mr McGenniskin said.

But Mr McGenniskin, who has a tattoo of the Southern Cross on his arm, said Tyler was reinstated in the group after there were a lot of complaints.

Mr McGenniskin rejected suggestions the organisation, which he said he left shortly after Tyler died, was a white supremacist group.

“It’s really just a place to meet with people of any race that are proud to be Australian,” he said.

~ Tyler ‘depressed’ before shooting: court, Daniel Fogarty, The Age (AAP), October 22, 2010.

On the other hand, the ‘Southern Cross Soldiers Melbourne Collective’ blogged on August 3, 2009:

A commentator on a White nationalist discussion forum (belonging to the Australian Protectionist Party) and a self-described SCS claims:

Leaving aside the question of whether or not it matters, the problem of whether or not Tyler was a ‘Southern Cross Soldier’ is intimately related to the amorphous nature of the group, its status as an online networking tool for young nationalists, and the broad nature of its appeal to (overwhelmingly but not exclusively White) Aussie yoof.

To produce an accurate account of the network’s evolution would be very difficult. To the best of my knowledge, the first time that the SCS received any media attention was approximately a month before Tyler’s death when, on November 23, Liam Houlihan wrote about police concern over “a Cronulla-style anti-immigrant gang” and their intention to prevent any similar racist monkey-business taking place on Melbourne beaches (Victorian police vow crackdown to stop ‘another Cronulla’, Sunday Herald Sun). According to Houlihan, the police vow followed “boasts by the 200-strong Melbourne chapter of the Southern Cross Soldiers, who admit having criminals and neo-Nazis in their ranks, that they will converge on bayside beaches this summer”. Liam cites ‘Adds’ as his source — he’s since deleted his MySpace page, as have many others.

At the time, SCS on MySpace numbered in the hundreds, and included ‘chapters’ in Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Tasmania, NSW South Coast, South Brisbane, SA, NSW, Mackay (NSW), Perth, Ballarat (VIC) and, presumably, elsewhere.

As for ‘skinheads’, in this context the appropriate term is ‘bonehead’ — the derogatory term popular in punk and skinhead subcultures to describe racists who ape skinhead fashion (a trend which began in England in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was spearheaded by the now dead bonehead Ian Stuart, vocalist for the band Skrewdriver). Roddy Moreno of Welsh skinhead band The Oppressed explains the distinction here.

See also : Tyler Cassidy : Inquest (October 19, 2010) | Justice for Tyler.

Tyler Cassidy : Inquest

15 year old Tyler Cassidy was shot dead by police in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote on December 11, 2008. An inquest into his death has just opened. Note that, a week or so after the shooting, the White nationalist political party ‘Australia First’ declared that its members “will demonstrate at the Coroner’s Court when an investigation is held into Tyler’s Cassidy’s death”. It also claimed that:

A submission to the Coroner will state that the police who attempted to arrest Tyler Cassidy were undermined in their duty of care by inflammatory and inaccurate intelligence contained ‘on line’ for use by police. This false information directly contributed to his death. This information must be revealed in full to the public.

No doubt the media and the coroner will sit up and take notice…

See also : Interested Party Ruling – Tyler Cassidy (Coroners Court of Victoria) | 4 Corners : Lethal Force (October 26, 2009) | Tyler Cassidy (August 31, 2009).

4 Corners : Lethal Force

Lethal Force
Reporter: Quentin McDermott
Broadcast: 26/10/2009

Reporter Quentin McDermott takes a detailed look at four incidents, in different parts of Australia, where people suffering mental illness or psychological distress died after being shot or tasered by police. Using exclusive interviews he details how in certain cases the victims had sought help at a hospital and then, having left of their own free will, were later shot dead…

The episode will include an examination of the circumstances surrounding the police shooting of Tyler Cassidy, the 15-year-old Southern Cross Soldier, in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote in December, 2008. His death is still being investigated by the State Coroner.

The subject of tasers — and more general issues to do with the use of force (both lethal and non-lethal) by police — is also being canvassed by Melbourne Cop Watch:

Melbourne Copwatch resists all forms of unwarranted police intrusion into the lives and activities of everyday people. We call on the Government to fund community services, not police. We need housing, not jails.

Melbourne Copwatch works, in a practical way, to bring the eyes, cameras and compassion of ordinary people to the streets to defend the rights of people to be free from unwarranted police harassment and violence.

We do this by the simple act of witnessing.

The simple act of witnessing and recording is profound.

Firstly, it has a deterrent effect.

Secondly, [it] provides support and lets people on the streets know they are not alone.

Thirdly, it provides evidence of the violence we know is happening to assist in any legal proceedings for the person on the street.

Fourthly, it lets the broader public know the everyday injustice that is the reality of street policing.

We need all of us to be involved in the project. Please join us.

Tyler Cassidy

‘Did they have to shoot my boy’
Chris Griffith
The Weekend Australian Magazine
August 8–9, 2009

Tyler Cassidy was only 15 years old, a boy who wanted to play the tough guy but hadn’t started shaving yet. A gangly teenager who was still young enough to tell his mum he loved her every night before bed. A kid who posted dumb things on his MySpace page and had begun to flirt online with some bone-headed racists. Around 9pm on December 11 last year this same boy, brimming with an inexplicable, implacable rage, went careering through a northern Melbourne shopping centre just on closing time.

Brandishing two kitchen knives he’d stolen from Kmart, he terrified the last straggling shoppers and staff. Tyler was freaking out and although he didn’t know it, he only had 40 minutes to live.

For those who haven’t heard of him, Tyler Cassidy holds the awful distinction of being the youngest Australian to be shot dead by police.

His funeral, held a week later, was devastatingly bleak. Angry, bereft kids clung to each other and to their parents, weeping as they filed past their friend’s open white coffin. Shani Cassidy then did something no mother should ever have to do: she helped screw the lid shut on her son.

Any child’s funeral leaves mourners searching for answers; eight months after Tyler’s, the questions are mounting up.

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