• Stop black deaths in custody. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Queensland police told an inquest they used the 'minimum force' necessary when they restrained Mr Coolwell, during what they described as a violent, drug-induced episode.
NITV Staff Writer

6 Mar 2018 - 3:21 PM  UPDATED 6 Mar 2018 - 3:28 PM

Two constables told the Brisbane Coroners Court on Monday that they did everything they could to help Shaun Coolwell when they arrived at his home on October 2, 2015, after receiving reports he was a suicide risk.

"I can't think of anything that we could have done differently," Const Barend Truter said.

"I still believe that it was in Mr Coolwell's best interest to be restrained at the time," Const Tamzin Zarycki agreed.

Const Zarycki said Mr Coolwell was "uncontrollable", bleeding and incoherent when they arrived at his Kingston home, south of Brisbane, around 11.30am.

"He was unclothed at the time, he was face down on the floor," she said.

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Const Zarycki said they made the decision to handcuff Mr Coolwell because he continued to "thrash around", trying to bash his head against the bathroom doorframe.

"We were still fearful that he may injure himself further," she said.

Const Truter said he used his knee to hold down Mr Coolwell's legs to prevent him from kicking and splashing blood onto him.

He said he monitored his breathing and repeatedly lifted his shoulder off the ground to make sure his airways were clear.

The pair continued to restrain Mr Coolwell so paramedics could inject him with a sedative.

The court heard he developed breathing problems and became unconscious.

Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he died in hospital a few hours later.

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The police officers' actions were investigated by Queensland Police Service Ethical Standards Command as part of an investigation launched in 2015 by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission, which cleared them of any wrongdoing.

"I found their actions to be lawful," Detective Senior Sergeant Lisa Scully told the court.

"I found that they used the minimum force required, they didn't use capsicum spray, they didn't use a Taser ... they chose to restrain Mr Coolwell for his own safety and benefit.

Neighbour William Knight, who witnessed the incident, described Mr Coolwell as "out of control".

Mr Knight denied he had any concerns that police were too rough in handling his neighbour. 

Two autopsies found there were multiple possible contributors to Mr Coolwell's death, including amphetamine use, a poor heart condition, the sedative and restraint, and his delirium at the time.

But Mr Coolwell's family maintain the police used unnecessary force and that medical attention should've been provided sooner.

On the day of his death, Shaun was mourning the passing of his brother, Bradley Coolwell, who died in similar circumstances four years earlier. Since the loss of their loved one, the family has vowed to continue fighting to find the answers they need. 

Shortly after Mr Coolwell's death in custody, protesters took over the streets of Brisbane to demand answers. 

Despite the announcement of the Crime and Corruption Commission's investigation into the 33-year-old Murri man’s death, the family felt at the time that there had been delays and lack of communication regarding proceedings. 

Family spokesperson, Sam Watson, told NITV News at the time, “you got the police union in the background saying, ‘it’s quite ok, it’s quite legal for police officers to bash people in their custody.”

The inquest continues today.

With AAP

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