SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The family of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti, 21, have hired a team of Australian investigators to find out how he came to die after being Tasered by police in Sydney, reported Australian site News.com.au. Friends of Curti have also planned a protest outside the Australian consulate in São Paulo as pressure continues to be put on New South Wales Police to explain their actions.
Curti had been studying English and playing soccer while living with his sister and her Australian husband in Sydney since last winter, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His family flew into Sydney from São Paulo today to begin their investigation.
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"We are still coming to terms with the sudden and unexpected loss of our beloved Roberto following his tragic death on Sunday morning... He was a young man who was much loved by family and his many friends, both in Australia and Brazil, and had a promising future ahead of him. We will all miss him immensely," a statement from the family said, reported Australian news site SMH.
Brazilian consulate officials in Sydney confirmed his family was "extremely wealthy and well connected" and would not let what happened go, according to News.com.au. "They own corporations, financial companies and are involved in the stockmarket," the official said.
The Brazilian government is also demanding a rigorous investigation of Curti's death, reported ABC. The Brazilian foreign ministry ordered its consulate in Sydney to assist his family and "obtain the necessary clarifications from the Australian authorities." The ministry said it is confident Australian authorities will conduct an investigation "with the necessary rigour."
Curti ran into police when he allegedly stole a packet of cookies from a Sydney convenience store, according to the Daily Mail. CCTV cameras caught the incident, showing a man said to be Curti running, with a number of policemen in pursuit. One of the officers aims what looks like a Taser gun at the man, who is offscreen. Police said they used pepper spray to try to subdue Curti before shooting him with the Taser guns at least three times.
Detectives are looking into whether guidelines were breached by tasering Curti, reported ABC. Taser guns are only meant to be used by officers to protect people from violence.