A Scared Little Boy, A Matter of Seconds

Abby Zimet

The mother of 15-year-old Tyler Cassidy, the youngest person in Australia to be shot dead by police, has filed a landmark action with the U.N. Human Rights Council arguing that the investigation of his death - done not by  an independent body but by "members of the same police force at whose hands he died" - did not "deliver justice for my son.” Tyler was agitated, intoxicated, and holding two knives in an empty skate park in December 2008 when three police officers sprayed him with two canisters of pepper spray and fired 10 bullets at him, five of which hit him. In 2011, a coroner cleared the police but also found Tyler was “overwhelmed by his emotions” and recommended changes to how police investigate fatal shootings. Tyler was killed just 73 seconds after first being approached by police who, notes his mother, “didn’t even ask him his name.”

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