Cassidy, believed to be the youngest person ever killed by a police officer in Australia, was at a skate park when he was shot repeatedly by police who claim he had run at them while brandishing two knives.
Another edit changed a section that read “three police officers fired ten shots, and five of those struck Cassidy.” It now features a description more favorable for police: “Officer Dods fired a warning shot in the ground then two shots at Cassidy’s legs. As Cassidy continued to advance whilst ignoring directions to discard his weapons, three police officers fired a further 7 shots, five of which struck Cassidy when less than four metres’ distance to Officer Dods.”
The sentence "No reconstruction was made concerning the events that took place," was changed to "No reconstruction was requested of the officers."
The line about Cassidy being the youngest person killed by police in Australia was also removed.
— Canberra Times (@canberratimes) June 1, 2015
As Wikipedia records the IP addresses for edits made anonymously, Fairfax Media used an IP look-up service to see who was behind all of the modifications to the article.
Victoria Police initially denied any involvement, but later confirmed that the department was in fact responsible for the edits. A spokeswoman for the department told local newspaper The Age that no guidelines exist regarding on-duty officers editing Wikipedia from a department computer, but that a policy is now being considered.
"In this case there was no intention for the edits to misrepresent the facts as they were drawn from the findings of the coroner," The spokeswoman stated.