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Mardi Gras footage outrages community
NSW Police will investigate two separate allegations of excessive force by NSW Police at last Saturday’s Sydney Mardi Gras Parade after footage of a young man being roughly handled by a police officer went viral overnight.
The amateur footage (below) shows a handcuffed man being thrown to the ground and stepped on by the officer while a the woman filming is told to stop recording.
The 18-year-old man has been issued with a field court notice for the offences of assaulting police, resisting arrest and using offensive language.
In a press conference this morning, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said the officers involved in the incidents were from Fairfield and Parramatta beats, and that one particular officer showed “naivety” in asking bystanders not to film them making the arrest.
He said he’d wait to see what police investigations show before taking action, but still believed the police operation was an overwhelming success.
NSW Police sexualities and gender diversity spokeswoman, Chief Supt Donna Adney, said she believed the community relationship with police would remain strong.
She said all officers policing Sydney Mardi Gras were given a briefing on the event prior to starting their duties.
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said he had viewed the “very disturbing” footage and will draw the police minister’s attention to it.
“[I] will seek to have this and other instances reported to me investigated,” Greenwich said.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) released a statement last night saying the incident was “quite distressing” .
“The Board and management of SGLMG assure the community and parade viewers that we have requested a meeting tomorrow with the Minister of Police,” the statement read.
Yesterday, Surry Hills Commander Anthony Crandell told the Star Observer yesterday that police were reviewing CCTV footage of other allegations of excessive force by police on Saturday night.
“I can’t comment too much as the matter concerns the courts. I’m happy to review any information that comes to me and conduct a fair and thorough investigation. The LGBTI community is a big part of Surry Hills Police,” Crandell said.
Several men came forward yesterday to complain of excessive force and dishonest practises by police during Mardi Gras, including former Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) co-convenor Bryn Hutchison, who alleges he was assaulted by police on Oxford St after the parade when trying to cross the road.
Another man alleged he was assaulted by plain clothes police officers outside the Mardigrasland afterparty at the Hordern Pavilion on Saturday night when he popped chewing gum in his mouth. He said he was slammed against a wall and choked around the neck for almost a minute while being ordered to ‘spit it out’ before being let go and handcuffed.
Andrew*, whose name has been changed, claims he was then strip-searched in a police van while officers suggested taking him to hospital to have his stomach pumped. When his interrogators realised he had not taken any drugs, he said they then accused him of assaulting police.
He intends to pursue legal action against Surry Hills Police.
Full details on the other allegations here here.