The family of the Indigenous teenager slammed on the ground by a NSW Police officer has called for charges to be laid, calling the incident another example of racist policing practices against Indigenous Australians.
“This police officer must be charged so we don’t have to deal with another incident like this,” the boy’s sister told reporters at NSW Parliament House on Wednesday.
“And I truly hope this is a turning point within our community, and with police.”
On Monday, a NSW Police officer forcefully arrested a 17-year-old boy in Surry Hills after a verbal altercation.
The boy’s tooth was allegedly chipped during the arrest, and NSW Police say he received treatment at St Vincent’s Hospital.
He was later released without charge, pending further enquiries.
Bystander footage of the incident was shared online, drawing widespread condemnation of the officers involved.
NSW Police yesterday said the officer at the centre of the incident has been placed on restricted duties while an internal investigation takes place.
“I cannot explain the anger and frustration that we as a family are feeling at this time,” the boy’s sister said today.
“The frustration of being constantly targeted by police is heavy, and not being able to place your trust in other people, who are employed to protect you, is sad and worrisome.”
She said the incident was just one example of biased policing against Indigenous Australians.
“The fact that there was film highlights a treatment that our people have been experiencing for years when there aren’t any cameras around.”
The family also called on the other officers at the scene to face scrutiny, and urged the formation of an independent body to investigate claims of misconduct within NSW Police.
This morning, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller apologised to the boy, but suggested the officer was having a “bad day” at the time of the arrest.
“This isn’t an incident caused by an officer having a ‘bad day,’” said George Newhouse, director of the National Justice Project, who appeared alongside the family.
“It’s systemic, and if that’s the attitude of the commissioner, then the systemic problem starts at the top.”
During the press conference, the boy’s family and legal representatives knelt in solidarity with the family of George Floyd, the African American man who died in the US last week after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
Solidarity with the family of the young man who was brutalised by police in that video we have all seen. No justice, no peace ✊🏾✊🏼 pic.twitter.com/Zyfml377ce
— David Shoebridge (@DavidShoebridge) June 3, 2020
“What is happening in America has been happening in Australia for a very long time,” the boy’s sister said.