When news of Roberto Laudisio Curti's death reached family and friends back in Brazil, his wealthy family engaged a Sydney legal firm to find out what really happened. Yesterday, the state Coroner, Mary Jerram, presided over the public inquiry into his death.
So far, things are not looking good for police, they appear to have been over-zealous and used unnecessary force. But when we learn that the 21 year old had taken LSD and was in the midst of a psychotic episode caused by a severe allergic reaction, we tend to give police the benefit of the doubt.
Any wonder police were called when in a manic state, he entered a convenience store and jumped the counter rambling on about being a messenger of God and how people were trying to kill him. He took 2 packets of biscuits and left.
Once outside, a street cleaner telephoned police after seeing what happened inside the shop. When he was asked if the man had a weapon he said 'I didn't see any.' But the triple-0 operator on duty passed the report on to police as an armed robbery. Until it was later corrected, it was still being referred to as "the armed robbery" on the police radio.
Not long after, he lay dead on the pavement after being shot 14 times with a taser, the barbs still embedded in his flesh. Police said he had "super human strength" and up to 11 officers were involved in the chase.
For the next two weeks, police will be under pressure to explain why so many tasers and 3 cans of capsicum spray had to be used to subdue an unarmed man.
Jeremy Gormly SC said it was not clear what killed Mr Curti, but there is a suggestion he may have choked while being held on the ground.
When graphic CCTV footage leading up to his death was shown to the court, several family members left. Seeing the young man they adored on the ground with several police officers on top of him was too much.
If only he had stopped running.
The hearing continues.