Jackson had been charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and using offensive language in a public place following an incident with police on the evening of Saturday, March 2.
During a court hearing last September, police had alleged Jackson was detained for kicking a female Mardi Gras-goer and maintained that the Cronulla resident had punched and kicked at several officers.
Turning to Facebook last Friday evening after the charges were officially withdrawn, Jackson said it had been a long wait for the day to come.
“It’s about time my ridiculous charges from mardigras [sic] were dropped ~served justice~,” he wrote in a post.
Jackson’s solicitor Chris Murphy told the Star Observer that his client was now exploring his options, including suing the police for damages.
“The case is still a little raw to talk about,” Murphy said.
NSW Police stated that charges were dropped as there was little chance of a guilty verdict against the openly-gay teen.
“The decision to withdraw the charges has been made on the basis that there were no reasonable prospects of conviction,” a police spokesperson said.
A video of the incident, taken by a photographer and released days later, went viral and made headlines around the world after it showed a handcuffed Jackson, then 18, being head-slammed to the ground by an officer from Fairfield police station, while surrounded by other officers who tried to prevent bystanders from filming.
A second incident on the same night and a block away saw gay activist Bryn Hutchinson also allege he was the victim of police brutality after he was detained by police on the corner of Oxford and Crown streets for trying to cross the road.
Hutchinson was also charged with a range of offences including assaulting police but those charges were all dismissed by a court late last November, with a magistrate finding that he had acted in “self-defence”.
“What has been clear throughout the process is that NSW Police are not only more than willing to mislead the community, but will also prosecute those people who have suffered as a result of their unprofessional negligence,” Hutchinson told the Star Observer this week.
NSW Police said the incidents and the behaviour of its officers during last year’s Mardi Gras were still under internal police investigation.
“The Professional Standards Command investigation will be finalised once matters before the court are concluded… Police will not be making further comment on this matter,” the spokesperson said.
Sydney state independent MP Alex Greenwich told the Star Observer the two incidents reinforced community concerns about police accountability.
“The withdrawal of this case highlights the need for an independent police complaints body, and I will continue to advocate for this reform,” he said.
“Key LGBTI organisations have developed a plan with the local police and state government to ensure instances like this don’t happen again. Our community’s response has been effective and should make sure this Mardi Gras is a safe and successful one.”
NSW Greens upper house MP David Shoebridge said the decision to drop charges against Jackson meant that the police case would avoid public scrutiny and it was now up to the Ombudsman to look at it.
The events emanating from last year’s Mardi Gras sparked widespread anger and led to a 2000-strong protest outside Surry Hills police station and a community policing forum.
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