Monday, April 20, 2009

Australia: Police goons again

Recent revelations about police misbehaviour in the State of Queensland don't seem to have slowed them down any. The cop who put his knee through Mulrunji Doomadgee's liver got away with it so I guess they have reason to be confident that they can do as they like without fear of retribution

THE Police Minister has ordered a report into the alleged assault of a handcuffed man at a Gold Coast police station after viewing a video of the incident. Neil Roberts has asked Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson for a report by the end of this week after being shown the footage by The Sunday Mail on Friday.

The incident, recorded by cameras at the Surfers Paradise Police Beat office, shows a male officer forcing the 19-year-old building worker to the floor after he allegedly refused to remove his socks. The man, who has his hands cuffed behind his back, hits the floor face first and when the policeman rolls him over there is a dark patch visible on the carpet under his face.

The man's mother, who uploaded the video on YouTube, claims the incident left her son with a $30,000 dental bill for jaw fractures and seven broken teeth.

An internal investigation by the police Ethical Standards Command (ESC), watched by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, last year cleared the police officer of using excessive force.

However, the man - who asked not to be identified because he fears police persecution - is using the video of the incident, on October 6, 2007, in a personal damages claim against the Queensland Police Service.

Mr Roberts admitted that his initial response after seeing the video was "one of concern" and he had asked the commissioner for more details. "There is no sound accompanying the vision to provide context to the situation," he said in a statement to The Sunday Mail.

The 19-year-old was one of several partygoers arrested following a brawl in Orchid Ave about 10pm. He was charged with a public nuisance offence, and later with obstructing police for having failed a direction to remove his socks.

The video shows him standing at the counter of the Police Beat beside a male officer while another officer speaks to him from behind the desk. Three other men, two also handcuffed, are seated along a wall below the camera. The 19-year-old kicks off his shoes, then appears to make an attempt to remove his socks with his feet before the officer forces him to the floor. The officer rolls him over, revealing the pool of blood before rolling him back on his face and walking into the station. The man eventually struggles to a sitting position and the other men seated in the station notice the bloodstain. They jump out of their seats before being restrained by police who then escort them out of the Police Beat - over the top of the man.

Mr Roberts said his initial advice from the commissioner was that the man was injured in the Orchid Ave brawl and was bleeding and spitting blood. "The officer involved took him to the floor to better manage the situation," he said. Mr Roberts said the man's mother made a complaint of excessive force, but investigations in December last year found the claim was unsubstantiated. He said despite repeated attempts by ESC investigators to speak with the man, he had declined to make a complaint or assist with the investigation. "I am also advised that the male person pleaded guilty to a charge of public nuisance and at that time, a second charge of obstruct(ing) police was withdrawn by agreement between police and his legal adviser."

The man's mother said he could not remember the incident. "My son has been to jail before. He's not a saint. He's stolen a car, he's been in a couple of fights," she said from her Gold Coast home. After her son's court case was finalised, she posted the footage on YouTube with a message saying: "This could be your child."

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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