While the police officer who kicked an indigenous teen to the ground has been charged, we should not forget the support he had at the time.
It’s been a year since a police officer went viral for kicking an Indigenous teenager to the ground during an arrest in Surry Hills. Today, he was charged with allegedly assaulting the individual. The constable was issued with a court attendance notice for the offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
In a statement, NSW Police said the officer’s employment was “under review”.
In June of 2020, the NSW police claimed that the officer “had a bad day”. Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told 2GB: “Not for one minute am I saying the officer’s actions were correct…the fact that this officer doesn’t have a chequered history and he has been in for three and a half years, if the complaint is sustained against him, you would have to say he has had a bad day.”
The incident, in which the officer kicked the 16-year-old’s feet from beneath him before dumping the boy to the ground, is now the subject of an internal police investigation, enacted to see if excessive force was applied. The teenager was later released without charge after treatment at St Vincent’s Hospital.
The teenager’s sister later spoke to Triple J, stating that her brother came home “shaken up” and remains “distraught” the morning following the incident.
In discussion with the ABC, Redfern Legal Centre solicitor Samantha Lee said she found the video “excruciating”.
NSW Police Central Metropolitan Region Commander Mick Willing told the ABC that he was “concerned” about the footage, but is “equally concerned about others who may use this footage to inflame it and turn it into something that it’s not.”
“Not only is this police conduct unacceptable, but it is downright dangerous,” Ms Lee said.
“This is a use of force in a scenario where force should not have been used.”
“Aboriginal young people, in particular, are disproportionately policed not only in NSW but across Australia,” Ms Lee said.
“They are a very vulnerable crowd and it’s time that this particular type of police practice is put to an end.”
On that note, the NSW Police Central Metropolitan Region Commander Mick Willing told the ABC that he was “concerned” about the footage, but is “equally concerned about others who may use this footage to inflame it and turn it into something that it’s not.”