Gas Week

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Vic SOG officers wary of forced-entry raid that led to shooting death, coroner hears

Posted by gasweek on 20 September, 2007

Special Operations Group police officers involved in a dawn raid on a Brooklyn house in 2005 expressed misgivings about the operation before a man was fatally shot in the house, a court heard, reported The Age (13/9/2007, p.9).

Misgivings on raid: A lawyer for Mohamed Chaouk’s family told an inquest on his death that several SOG members had allegedly aired concerns about the method chosen for the operation before and after the raid on April 5. “They had misgivings about the forced entry,” Michael Rafter told Melbourne Coroners Court. One of the officers – known only as Operator 52 – shot Chaouk in the chest and abdomen after the 31-year-old allegedly struck the officer’s wrist with a blunt samurai sword. The court heard the raid was carried out by 17 SOG officers after an investigation into Chaouk’s family made some of them suspects for a range of crimes, including attempted murder and drug and firearm offences.

Risky business: A risk assessment labelled the operation medium to high-risk and was approved over other options for their arrest. The officer said that soon after entering the house in the dark about 6am, he heard gunshots followed by an officer calling “upstairs, upstairs”. He said after clearing the ground floor, he went upstairs to find Chaouk lying bleeding. “There was a large volume of blood and having heard the number of shots … I believed he was suffering gunshot wounds,” he said. He said despite hearing Chaouk gasp several times, he did not try to resuscitate him because he thought he was dead. He said he did not know whether other officers tried resuscitation before paramedics arrived. The inquest heard that Operator 52 would not give evidence for fear of self-incrimination.

The Age, 13/9/2007, p. 9

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