Queensland Police Cops covert vehicle power fatal utility rammed

‘Noisy rider’ dies after police pursuit

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Queensland Police claim a Maryborough rider “causing excessive noise” has died in a motorcycle crash in the Queensland city after a short police pursuit on Saturday afternoon (30 May 2020).

They say the rider, Damian Lawton, a father of one who turned 26 last week, “allegedly evaded police, accelerating away at speed and travelled through a stop sign before colliding with a Holden Barina”.

Damian
Damian

Family member Brendon Marshall says the family still does not know all the details of the crash, “but wish we could have stopped him and told him a fine wasn’t worth dying for”.

“I presume Damian took off as he’d had years of issues with his car licence,” Brendon says.

“He’d been suspended for years at a time due to continuous driving fines.

“He had a tendency to do things back to front, so wouldn’t have had a bike licence. He has a beautiful little two-year-old daughter. He had a heart of gold and would help anyone.

“He was no saint but he all wanted was a bike and because I have a GSX he wanted one.

“Please think before you run and, to the police, think before you chase. It is not worth a death.”

About 1pm, police say they received reports about a motorcycle travelling around Dunn Street and Panorama Drive “causing excessive noise”.

A Road Policing Command motorcycle officer patrolling nearby attempted to intercept the Suzuki GSX750 near the corner of Neptune and Woodstock streets.DayGlo Queensland Police motorcycle rider

“The motorcycle allegedly evaded police, accelerating away at speed and travelled through a stop sign before colliding with a Holden Barina,” police say.

Damian was thrown from the motorcycle and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Our sincere condolences to the rider’s family and friends.

The occupants of the Barina were not injured.

Forensic Crash Unit investigations continue.

The matter is being investigated by the Ethical Standards Command, with oversight from the Crime and Corruption Commission.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

Quote this reference number: QP2001117785 within the online suspicious activity form.

Police pursuits

The deadly result of a police pursuit over the minor matter of “excessive noise” is a serious issue.

A leading police study has found the three most pressing issues for police reform around the world are use of force, policing of violence in families and high-speed pursuits.

A 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology study found deaths in custody at police stations are declining but “deaths in custody” as a result of high-speed pursuits were rising.

While less than 1% of police pursuits results in a fatal crash, 38% of the people killed are innocent bystanders.

It’s much worse in the USA where one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. Of those deaths, 1% are police, 55% suspects and 44% bystanders.

Most police procedures acknowledge the judgement of the officer at the scene to begin a pursuit.

However, continuation of the pursuit is then deferred to a senior officer at the station or headquarters.

They have to make a quick judgement based on the lethal risk to the community of the chase versus the lethal risk to the community of letting a serious offender escape.

This must be backed by information, not just mere suspicion.

Queensland Police figures show only about 3% of pursuits involved imminent threat to life or a suspect escaping after a homicide.

Police have a duty to not only prevent and control crime, but more importantly, they have a duty to protect the community and that includes from their own reckless behaviour and judgement.

Click her to read about a police and media pursuit that encouraged a motorcycle rider to perform stunts for the cameras.

Police pursuit pursuits
TV chopper captures pursued rider performing stunts

Restrictive practices

Despite criticism from police unions, most pursuit policies around the world, including the USA, are becoming more restrictive.

In many jurisdictions, pursuits are only allowed if there is a serious risk to public safety or in relation to a major crime involving death or injury.

However, there is an issue about making these pursuit policies public. Some say they should be public to show transparency while others believe it would give criminals clues on how to evade police.

Those who support pursuits point out that the number of people evading police is rising as a result of more restrictive pursuit policies, despite higher penalties for evading police.

Making the issue more complex is the degree of the pursuit.

Should there be an upper speed limit for police? Should police be allowed to break other road rules in the pursuit?

There have been incidences of police driving at more than 200km/h in a pursuit and on the road side of a major highway.

Another issue is whether police should be criminally culpable in the instance of a death resulting from a pursuit.

To a degree, technologies such as CTV and number plate recognition cameras, negate the need for pursuits, anyway.

* What do you think about police pursuits? Leave your comments below.

  1. Dudes, calm down..

    Rather than take sides on who is right and who is wrong – everyone needs to exercise some common sense and decency.

    In this case, someone made some decisions which didn’t end well.

    Have some respect and think of their family and loved ones at this difficult time.

    No one is perfect and we are not all angels..

  2. Boo hoo poor selfish unlicensed rider endangering road users chooses to evade police and gets what’s coming to him. Fuck him! I don’t care he doesn’t get to see his daughter again, he made his decisions, a bunch of them in fact, repeated driving offences leading up to riding a motorcycle unlicensed and then evading the law after being caught out breaking societies rules.

    It’s his daughter i feel sorry for, she had no choice when he selfishly behaved as he did with no regard for her or any of his other loved ones, or the occupants of the barina who’s day he screwed up and all the following days until they could get their vehicle fixed to get to work, take kids to school, etc which they would have had to do on their own $ because some selfish prick who wasn’t licensed, surely wouldn’t have been insured either.

    I’m sick to death of motorcyclists blindly defending morons like this purely because he was riding a bike and they ride a bike so they should defend him. WRONG! It’s people like this that cause our insurance to go up, causes the police to crack down on us, and the speed limits to be reduced on popular roads where idiots like this ride too fast and write themselves off. I am glad to see a bunch of reasonable people above who are not buying the bullshit about the police persuit being the cause of the incident, that’s just purely blame shifting rubbish. Don’t do anything wrong and there’s nothing to worry about, unless you’re a selfish guilty prick and decide to endanger innocent road users.

  3. So a member of the public reports driving behaviour. Not unreasonably the police respond to the complaint, I would criticise them if they didn’t. On arrival not unreasonably the police attempt to intercept the rider. He chooses to then drive dangerously and causes a collision with a vehicle. They appear to be the facts gleaned from your report. Distilled, a dangerous drive dies whilst driving dangerously. Sad but no ones fault except his own.

    As for your ill-informed comments “Another issue is whether police should be criminally culpable in the instance of a death resulting from a pursuit.” I suggest you consider the provisions of Section 23 (1) (a) of the criminal code. I can explain that to you if it assists.

  4. Wow. Grr, you have a serious chip on your shoulder! It was the rider who took the decision to evade. If he then ran out of talent how can you blame the cop?? Use some common sense. – do you think it was a good plan to run a red light?

    1. Any source for that claim? Or is this more of “trust me, I’ve got an uncle whose ex-wife knows a neighbour of the sister of an officer from the next town over” kind of deal?

  5. Having worked for another Law Enforcement Organisation and having been privy to the ‘facts’ around many Police pursuits, I personally think that limitations and restrictions should be pursuits. More often then not a pursuit is instigated for ‘sport’ rather than law enforcement. Also pursuits should be restricted to appropriate vehicles. Conducting a pursuit in a Police van as an example is a guarantied recipe for disaster.
    This an actual description of a highway patrol pursuit conducted a few years ago on the Hume Hwy on a Sat afternoon.
    A HWP Car detected a late model 6 cyl sedan traveling at 130 kph in a 110 kph zone. HWP instigated a pursuit, the rd conditions where ‘wet’ it had been raining for a number of days prior to the event. The event resulted in speeds reaching 200 kph, the HWP continued the event following the car the WRONG way up a freeway on-ramp in excess of 130 kph, speeds continued to be between 130 and 150 kph, reducing to 125 kph down the main street of a small town where the HWP lost contact with the vehicle. As the HWP had recorded the rego number of the vehicle, the HWP Officer attended the offenders address and arrested the person. When the matter was before the Court, the Magistrate commented on the facts and remarked that he was concerned ‘as to who the real offender was’ and that the pursuit should have been terminated before reaching speeds that endangered the public. This is not an uncommon incident and often involves HWP and general duties vans.

  6. The rider should receive a posthumous “Darwin Award” for removing himself from the gene pool. Running from the police on or in a motor vehicle is sheer stupidity, as is riding through the stop sign. No sympathy whatsoever from me. I offer my condolences to the police officers who had to witness this act of stupidity and the consequences.

      1. It would appear that you have been on the wrong side of the law yourself, judging by such a ridiculous comment. You seem to have a serious chip on your shoulder when it comes to law enforcement. I’ll take the opportunity to offer my condolences to the occupants of the Barina in addition to the police officers, which I neglected to do in my first comment.

  7. That rider was my wife’s nephew. He was no saint but he all wanted was a bike and because I have a GSX he wanted one. He had 4-year-old daughter he will never see again. Please think before you run and, to the police, think before you chase. It is not worth a death

  8. I genuinely struggle to empathize with any rider who is harmed or killed from running in a high speed pursuit. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  9. I understand the need to catch criminals but is the rider of a “noisy motorcycle” a criminal? There are so many ways to catch a traffic offender these days that chasing them at excessive speeds is criminal and the police officers involved should be charged.

        1. Had trouble with the Police before have you, and this is your pathetic little attempt at self-righteous indignation?

        2. I’m sorry. “No, the guy literally in the act of breaking the law and fleeing the police was clearly not in violation of any laws.”

          Your logic is impeccable, you’re right.

          1. The police bike officer was on his way up to the area where the hooning had been reported by a number of people. He had not even commenced a pursuit. He was driving in the opposite direction to the bike rider and by the time he had turned around the accident had happened.
            My sympathy is for the police officer and the 2 in the Barina who’s families might have also been preparing for funerals.

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