By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A 21 year-old Brazilian man, Roberto Laudisio Curti, was killed by police in Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia, in the early hours of Sunday morning. According to reports, at around 5:30 AM, Laudisio was shot at least three times by police Tazer guns before collapsing on the street. He was unable to be revived and died at the scene.
The man is accused of having stolen a packet of biscuits from a nearby convenience store. According to eyewitness reports the man who stole the biscuits was confused and rambling. He reportedly asked for someone to “Help me” before fleeing with the item.
Workers at the convenience store who saw the security footage told The Telegraph Australia,”He came in once and then was told to get out. He came back about ten minutes later and climbed over the security door and was inside the area where the attendant is supposed to be safe,” one worker said.
“You can see him in the footage talking a lot. He said the world was going to end and to help him. He doesn’t have a shirt on. He grabs a packet of biscuits before opening the door and going out.”
Security footage shows he was then chased by six police officers and shot with Tazer guns, seemingly in the back, until he collapsed. Sydney Police defended their use of the stun guns saying that they were concerned Laudisio might have been armed.
One Australian, who identifies himself only as ‘Sid’, describes the Police Force of New South Wales as “corrupt”, saying, “it is now a Police State, everyone is considered a druggy.”
Tests are being done to determine if drugs were present in the man’s system. Laudisio had been studying English while living with his sister and brother in law in Sydney. According to reports his tourist visa had recently expired but he applied for – and received – a student visa on March 12th.
Roberto’s family denies he stole cookies and hired a company in Sydney to conduct a parallel investigation into his death. Laudisio John Edward, the young uncle said his nephew was not a thief and that was in good health, including physical tests done before he went to Australia last year.
The Brazilian Embassy in Australia is demanding a full inquiry into the death and friends of the student are organizing a protest outside the Australian Consulate in São Paulo on March 30th.
‘Sid’ told The Rio Times, “My deepest sympathy for the death and torture of your countryman Roberto Laudisio. I would like to apologize for the behavior of our police.”
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