Warning: This story makes reference to abuse of children and Indigenous Australians.

A New South Wales Police officer touched and humiliated a sedated and restrained Indigenous Australian teen according to an investigation by The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

The incident occurred in 2021. But the Commission found the officer had engaged in serious misconduct in an investigation on Tuesday.

The investigation was originally prompted by a complaint from the legal firm Aboriginal Land Service.

The ALS’s CEO Karly Warner is the victim’s lawyer. She said in a statement on Tuesday a group of officers were transporting the 15-year-old to the hospital after concerns about his mental health and self-harm.

One of the officers touched the teen’s nipple while he was restrained on an ambulance stretcher. The officer made “turkey gobbler” sounds and laughed. Four other officers were present and also laughed.

“This behaviour is cruel and dehumanising, and the response from these other officers demonstrates an even bigger problem in the culture of NSW Police,” Warner said.

The report found the “incident involved disgraceful conduct by [the NSW Police officer] and all those officers who laughed with and at him”.

“It was conduct that paid no regard to the feelings of the child who was in their custody. No one seemed to remember that [he] was just that, a child,” the LECC said via the ALS statement.

The LECC recommended NSW Police take “non-reviewable action” against the officer. It also recommended counselling and further training for the other police officers present.

But The Aboriginal Legal Service and the 15-year-old victim called on the officer involved to be charged. Warner said the officer’s behaviour showed he was not fit to protect and serve.

“He is not fit to be a police officer nor to be in any position of power over others, let alone children,” Warner said.

“Together with our client, we expect the officer to be terminated from the police force immediately, and for criminal charges to follow.

“When this is the way Aboriginal children are treated by police, it’s no wonder there is a lack of trust in the community.

“Some police officers and many community leaders have worked long and hard seeking to build that trust, but this behaviour from NSW police erodes that opportunity.”

A spokesman for NSW Police told PEDESTRIAN.TV the state’s police force was aware of the incident. It was provided with a copy of the LECC investigation’s findings and said it will consider the recommendations made by the LECC.

Image: Getty Images / James D. Morgan