NSW Police Launch Investigation Into Violent Arrest Of 18 Y.O. Indigenous Teen With Disability

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains content that can be distressing for some readers.

New South Wales Police have launched an investigation after a video surfaced of a police officer allegedly sweeping the legs of an Indigenous teen with a disability during an arrest.

According to The Guardian, the 18-year-old was arrested on Tuesday after he allegedly attempted to break into two houses in Taree. Police claim the man escaped and was then arrested on Gwenneth Avenue.

Footage of the arrest — which has circulated on Snapchat and Facebook without audio — shows the alleged in handcuffs walking beside a driveway before falling to the ground. As per the publication, this is where the man reportedly began to have a seizure. In a second video, the police officer allegedly performed a “leg sweep manoeuvre” before throwing him to the floor.

ABC News reported that after the arrest, the teen was taken to Taree Police Station and was charged with goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen.

On Wednesday, the 18-year-old appeared at Taree Local Court, where he was refused bail. He’s due to return to court in September.

Speaking to The Guardian, the teen’s aunt reportedly said that he “thought he was going to die after the arrest”.

“He said, ‘I thought I was dying in the cell last night,’” the aunt claimed.

NSW Police confirmed that the Manning-Great Lakes Police District has launched a formal investigation into the officer’s “response and arrest”.

In a statement, per ABC News, NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley said the officer who was involved in the incident was placed on restricted duties whilst they investigated the matter.

“I acknowledge the video that’s circulating is difficult to watch. That’s why this investigation will consider the police response and arrest,” she said.

“I cannot comment further while this takes place.”

In May, NSW police officer Ryan Barlow was found guilty of assaulting a 16-year-old Indigenous teenager in Sydney during an arrest in 2020. During the arrest, Barlow used a leg sweep manoeuvre.

Barlow will return to court on September 15 for sentencing.

If you’re feeling affected by this content, help is available. There’s no shame in talking about it.