Rogue cop’s unusual punishment for excessive force
A ROGUE Gold Cost police officer who used excessive force on three different offenders, all while they were in handcuffs, must explain to junior recruits why he should have restrained himself.
The directive that he use his experience to explain to junior officers about minimal use of force is part of an alternative penalty handed down by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal when his original punishment was dropped on appeal.
Incidents included kneeing a man in the chest, hitting another handcuffed man in the head and dragging a third handcuffed man to the floor.
Senior Constable Aaron Minns was acquitted of four assault charges in relation to the incidents in the Southport Magistrates Court in May 2016 but faced internal police disciplinary action in relation to the incidents.
The tribunal decision means that instead of being demoted from Senior Constable to Constable for five years, Aaron Minns has only had to serve one year of demotion.
But Sen-Const. Minns will also have to conduct monthly training of junior officers "to speak from his own experiences and lessons learnt" about why police officers should have a minimal use of force mindset.
The tribunal was told the three incidents all occurred in later 2014 and early 2015 when Sen-Const. Minns was assigned to the Gold Coast's Rapid Action Patrol Unit.
In the first incident, on September 18, 2014, Sen-Const. Minns kneed a man, whose hands were cuffed behind him, in the chest.
Then on Boxing Day 2014, Sen-Const. Minns hit a cuffed man in the back of the head and neck.
"Mr Minns then pushed the man into the back of the police vehicle, causing the man's face to strike against a metal area in the vehicle," the tribunal documents said.
In the third incident, less than a month later on January 18, 2015, Sen-Const. Minns dragged a handcuffed man, who was a bikie associate, to the floor despite other officers having the man under control.
He told officers he was concerned the man may be attempting to destroy evidence of dangerous drugs.
After a disciplinary hearing, Deputy Commissioner Peter Martin decided Sen-Const. Minns should be demoted to constable for five years.
Sen-Const. Minns had become a police officer in 2009 and reached the rank of Senior Constable in January 2014.
"It is submitted that these (references) show a generally good character, solid work ethic and a preparedness to help people in need," the tribunal documents read.
"These incidents in question are, according to several referees, out of character."
QCAT member Paul Kanowski said the five-year deferral of advancement was "unduly harsh" as it would have "a very significant financial impact".
Mr Kanowski ordered Sen-Const. Minns be demoted to Constable for the period June 22, 2017 to June 22 this year.
He was only allowed to returned to the rank of Senior Constable at a lower pay level.
"Although a 12-month demotion is probably at the bottom end of the range, when the demotion is combined with the other sanctions, including the opportunity to return to only a lower rank of Senior Constable than previously held, the overall result is appropriate," Mr Kanowski wrote in his judgment.
As a part of the punishment, Sen-Const. Minns would be required to undergo further training on professionalism and ethical decision-making by mid-October.
Mr Kanowski also ordered Sen-Const. Minns conduct monthly training session for junior officers for the next 18 months, describing his experiences and what he learnt from them.
The content of those sessions must be approved by an Assistant Commissioner.
Attempts to contact Sen-Const. Minns were not successful.
Queensland Police Media confirmed he is still working as a police officer in the southeast Queensland region.