Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Why you got stuck: Operation Avert

Police today revealed why thousands were stuck for more than four hours in a Sydney traffic jam yesterday while a shot was fired during a chase.

It was all part of Operation Avert, a major three-day police action that led to 460 arrests, including more than 200 for outstanding warrants and 55 for breach of bail. Some 640 charges were laid.

A police officer fired at a stolen four-wheel-drive because its occupants drove towards a fellow policeman, police said today.

The shot was fired at the beginning of the pursuit through Redfern and down Parramatta Road yesterday, which involved up to 30 police cars, several undercover vehicles and a police helicopter.

Police said they spotted the allegedly stolen vehicle in the Redfern area during Operation Avert, a state-wide crackdown on outstanding offenders.

A check showed it had been linked to several unsolved armed robberies.

Police followed it and stopped it in Cleveland Street, Redfern. An officer approached and tried to speak to the driver. But the driver motored towards him, so another officer, fearing for his colleague's safety, fired a shot.

The pursuit ended in Strathfield, where it hit a stationary car. Three men tried to run. Two were arrested nearby, and the third was arrested during a raid on a unit block by heavily armed officers several hours later.

It left westbound motorists stuck in gridlock at peak hour.

Peak-hour chase suspect 'may sue police'
An unlicensed driver who is alleged to have led police on a chase through Sydney's inner west last night has told a court he is considering legal action against the police. It is alleged 27-year-old Mustafa Dagdanasa was at the wheel of a four-wheel drive that led police on a chase through rush-hour traffic. Dagdanasa is facing a number of charges, including stealing a vehicle, driving without a licence, dangerous driving and using a vehicle to avoid being caught. The prosecution opposed bail, saying his actions could have caused serious injury or death to the police chasing him. Dagdanasa has told Burwood Local Court he was uninvolved and was walking down Parramatta Road after a meal when several police threw him to the ground, punched, kicked and arrested him. He asked the court to order that photographs be taken of his injuries but was told he would have to arrange that through his lawyer. Dagdanasa has been refused bail until his legal representative can attend court.

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