Perth man with disability dies in handcuffs at underground train station

Posted 9 months ago by David McManus
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Sotos Syndrome is a genetic disorder that results in excessive growth and cognitive impairment. (Image source: 9News)
Sotos Syndrome is a genetic disorder that results in excessive growth and cognitive impairment. (Image source: 9News)

The disability community is mourning the tragic loss of a young man, as detectives from the Major Crime Division investigate the matter. Please be advised that this article includes content some may find distressing.

Josh, a 24-year-old man with Sotos Syndrome, has passed away following a medical episode — only moments after an altercation with transit security staff at a Perth train station. 

On June 16, Friday night, transit security staff at the Perth Underground Station handcuffed Josh, although the Public Transport Authority has declined requests from the press for a statement regarding the matter. WAtoday reports that the family has asked for footage to be shared with them, with a police investigator who has viewed the surveillance footage saying the incident was sparked by a verbal altercation. 

Transit security who knew Josh asked him to “come up for fresh air,” before he was detained and paramedics were called. Upon arriving, Josh was unresponsive and paramedics administered CPR before taking him to the Royal Perth Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Vice President of People With Disability Australia (PWDA) Samantha Connor took to Twitter to voice her concern about the death, along with the statement provided by the Western Australia Police.

“How many other disabled people have died while in the custody of the PTA? Why doesn’t this mention that a 6’5” (six foot, five inch tall) young man was brought to the floor, cuffed behind his back before stopping breathing less than a minute later? What warranted this reaction from PTA guards?” asks Sam.

In a separate pinned tweet, Ms Connor expresses her feelings of grief and horror over the incident, stating that the news was shocking to the community.

“One of my friend’s disabled kids has been killed. I say killed, because he died under men, post-COVID, with little National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support,” she says.

7News reports that Josh needed more care, according to his family, and he should not have been alone, but their plea for independent living support was rejected by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

“The NDIA came back and said, ‘look we’re not going to give you this funding, we’ll give you just a few hours extra, so four – six hours a day of support,’ which wasn’t enough,” Ms Connor tells the news outlet.

“The family perspective is they don’t think he would have passed away if he had the support that day at the train station.” 

News.com.au states that the Public Transport Authority says it is cooperating with the police investigation now underway.