A NSW Police investigation into the arrest of an Indigenous teen in Surry Hills on Monday afternoon is underway, after the emergence of footage which shows a male officer slamming the boy into the ground.
The video, which was posted to the Justice for Buddy, Lewis Kelly Jnr Facebook page yesterday, shows three uniformed NSW Police officers standing near the teen in a Surry Hills park.
The footage shows a short verbal altercation between the teen and a male police officer, who then approaches the teen, turns him around, and holds his arms behind his back.
The officer kicks the teen’s legs from underneath him, driving him into the ground. The other two officers can be seen holding the teen down as the first officer attempts to handcuff him.
“What the fuck, you just slammed him on his face,” an distressed onlooker can be heard saying.
The teen can be heard moaning as the officers hold him down.
“He’s in pain, I’ve never heard that,” the onlooker says.
At no point in the footage does the teen appear to resist arrest.
Photos subsequently posted to social media appear to show the boy receiving treatment in hospital. The images appear to show cuts to the boy’s face, along with bruising on his leg and shoulder.
“I have just come from the hospital & he is awaiting X-Ray’s as I speak but also sustained a bruised shoulder, cuts & grazing to his knee, face & elbow & chipped teeth,” said the owner of the Justice for Buddy, Lewis Kelly Jnr Facebook page.
“This is so wrong on so many levels,” they added.
“I am that pissed off with what has happened.”
In a statement, NSW Police said officers were patrolling Ward Park in Surry Hills around 5pm Monday when they approached a group of teens.
“It’s alleged a 17-year-old boy from the group threatened an officer, before being arrested and taken to Surry Hills Police Station,” a police spokesperson said.
NSW Police say the boy was transported to St Vincent’s Hospital before being released without charge, pending further enquiries.
Officers attached to the Professional Standards Command are now investigating the incident, the spokesperson said, adding that the constable involved in the arrest has been placed on “restricted duties” while the review takes place.
Law enforcement authorities have “met with the community and local elders” and will provide updates on the investigation, the spokesperson said.
The footage has drawn widespread condemnation and outrage from viewers.
Taking to Twitter, NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong compared the footage to the ongoing protests in the US, sparked by the death of black man George Floyd in police custody.
“This is our reality too people #aboriginallivesmatter #blacklivesmatter,” she wrote.
“There is no excuse for a police to treat someone like this. It is unacceptable.”
The review of the incident comes just days before a raft of protests around Australia, designed to draw attention to Aboriginal deaths in custody.
There have been at least 432 Indigenous deaths in custody since a 1991 Royal Commission urged widespread reforms to law enforcement practices and legislation.
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