Disturbing footage has emerged of police appearing to use excessive force to arrest a young Aboriginal man in Adelaide last night.
The videos shows several officers pinning Noel Henry, 28, on the ground, with his head pressed into concrete. One officer tells Henry to “get on the fucking ground” before striking him in the head.
In another video, an officer can be seen striking Henry twice, before he’s stopped by another officer.
Witness and friend Doris Kropinyeri told PEDESTRIAN.TV she believes Henry was arrested at Albert St, Kilburn for riding a bike without a helmet or lights. Henry had been at the Albert St property earlier that evening.
“It was probably about 20 minutes after he left,” Kropinyeri said. “He left the house to get dinner, and then came back.”
Kropinyeri and friend Emma Pereira, who lives in the Albert St property and also witnessed the incident, told PTV there were about 20 police cars on the street, including unmarked police SUVs.
They allege pepper spray was used, and said another witness was also pepper sprayed.
“She had to get under the water [to wash it off],” Pereira said. “It was over an hour just to just feel a little bit of relief.”
Advocacy group the Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance claimed the “majority” of police present were wearing body cameras, which were turned off.
Henry was released without charge on Tuesday morning, with charges of hindering police, resisting police and property damage dropped.
In a lengthy statement to PTV, South Australia Police confirmed an internal investigation has commenced into the arrest, in strict accordance with the statutory provisions outlined in the Police Complaints and Discipline Act 2016.
“The investigation into this incident has been taken very seriously and a senior police officer has been assigned to undertake this as a matter of priority,” a spokesperson said.
The spokesperson explained that officers had been attending an alleged high risk domestic violence matter on the same street, where a woman was taken to hospital and the offender was not known.
Cops saw Henry on a bicycle nearby and approached him. They told Henry they suspected he was in possession of illicit drugs, according to the spokesperson, and conducted a search.
“The man originally was compliant and after a short time he began to refuse. Police attempted to arrest the man who resisted and a struggle ensued,” the spokesperson said.
“Police and the man went to the ground as police attempted to restrain and handcuff him.
“It was during the process of arrest that the body worn camera worn by one of the officers was grabbed and only parts of the camera have been located.”
Henry suffered minor injuries during the arrest, police said, with an officer also sustaining minor injuries.
WAR is calling for the officer who assaulted Henry to be charged with aggravated assault and failing in their duty of care.
Pereira said she hopes Henry will be pursuing charges.
“We don’t tolerate things like that,” she said.
“We try to move on all the time. If we have to tolerate harassment and abuse by police, then who do we trust really to maintain our society?”
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