A New South Wales police officer has been charged after allegedly assaulting an Aboriginal teenager in Surry Hills in June last year.
According to a statement from NSW Police, officers from the Professional Standards Command have been investigating the alleged assault.
“Following inquiries, a male constable who is now attached to a command in Southern Region, was issued with a court attendance notice today (Tuesday 4 May 2021) for the offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault,” the statement said.
The alleged assault was recorded and sees three NSW police officers and several teenagers.
In the video, the charged constable pulls the boy’s hands behind his back, kicks his legs out from underneath him and then handcuffs him.
“It’s alleged a 17-year-old boy from the group threatened an officer, before being arrested and taken to Surry Hills police station,” NSW Police said in a statement on the incident in June last year.
The boy was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital where he was then discharged to be cared for by his family.
The family appeared at a press conference shortly after the incident.
“The use of excessive force was unnecessary … this police officer [involved] must be charged,” said the teenager’s sister.
The family welcomed the charges laid against the officer on Tuesday.
“We as a family are happy with the way this is now proceeding, legally and fairly,” a family spokesperson said.
“We as a family cry and share the grief and pain of the families who have had the lives of their young Black sons and daughters taken away from them violently by police and custodial authorities.
“Aboriginal people across Australia have been unfairly treated, racially vilified, and systematically oppressed since 1788. We look forward to the law being applied with fairness and justice.”
The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT (ALS) welcomed the charges against the officer.
“Aboriginal people are too often the target of systemic racism and police mistreatment. We are routinely harassed, stopped, questioned, and searched by police for no reason,” said ALS CEO Karly Warner.
“We are refused bail at higher rates and disproportionately pursued through the courts for minor offences.
“You can’t have justice without accountability. Police should be subject to the same laws that apply to the community. We welcome this step towards justice.”
It’s understood the officer’s employment status is under review. He is due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court in June.
By Rachael Knowles