NSW Police Officer Senior Constable Mark Follington has been found guilty of assault and tampering of evidence in relation to the unlawful arrest of transgender woman Anya Bradford in May 2019.

As reported by the Star Observer in March, Follington had admitted to making the arrest after Bradford failed to make eye contact with him whilst in the gaming area at the Railway Hotel in Liverpool.

Warning: Story has distressing image of violence against a trans woman.

At the time, the police officers were conducting ID checks of patrons in the gaming room. When asked to produce ID, Bradford told both officers that she did not have any on her.

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CCTV footage showed that as Bradford tried to leave the venue a short time later, the two police officers prevented her from doing so, before a scuffle broke out near the ATM.

When Bradford attempted to leave the hotel, both Senior Constable Follington and Probationary Officer Mark Brown chased her down the street and into the foyer of a parole office.

The altercation subsequently left Bradford, tasered, pepper sprayed and left with a black eye and cuts to her wrist.

‘She was keeping her eyes down…’

“People normally come up and say hello, she was keeping her eyes down. To me, that starts to send a signal to me that this person is trying to hide from me.” Follington had previously claimed.

Bradford was not subject to any warrant at the time of the altercation.

The 61-year-old officer then wrote a summary report to substantiate three charges of Bradford assaulting police, a summary report magistrate Michael Crompton on Thursday found to be intentionally false.

CCTV footage of the arrest of Anya Bradford in Liverpool by senior constable Mark Follington and probationary constable Mark Brown in 2019.

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According to ABC, the judge ruled that Senior Constable Mark Follington had “no reason” to arrest Anya Bradford, with Magistrate Michael Crompton having said, “The defendant had no reason to arrest her … or had no reason to suspect she committed any offence, it was unlawful,”

The magistrate also found that Follington had in fact twice assaulted Bradford who was aged 24 at the time of the altercation.

‘Constable Created False Report’

Follington also falsely claimed Ms Bradford knocked him off balance before pushing past him in the gaming room. But according to Crompton “having seen that [CCTV footage] did not assist him … he began creating a false narrative to protect himself”

“That piece of evidence is implausible, and flimsy and I do not accept it,” Crompton said, referring again to CCTV footage from the venue.  “He knew there was no assault in the poker machine room but created a false account in any event,”

Anya Bradford’s mother, Elizabeth Bradford told the ABC  shortly after the hearing, that for her or any parent it was “devastating” for their child to be treated by the police in this manner,  adding that she believed her daughter was targeted because she is transgender.

Follington, will again appear in front of a magistrate on July 26 for sentencing.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

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