A First Nations teenager has had his face slammed into the ground by police after a verbal altercation in an inner-Sydney suburb on Monday.
Video footage surfaced on social media on Tuesday of three police officers talking to a group of teenagers in Surry Hills, New South Wales.
“I’ll crack your f*cking jaw, bro,” someone can be heard saying off-screen in the video.
A police officer then forcibly arrests the teenager, kicking his legs out from underneath him causing him to land face-first onto the pavement as he is pinned to the ground and handcuffed.
“You just slammed him on his face,” yells the teenager filming the incident.
Another police officer is then seen kneeling on the back of the boy’s legs as audible howls are captured in the video.
Please note the below video contains footage some viewers may find distressing.
The teenager was later taken to hospital with minor injuries and was subsequently released with no charges against him.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said on 2GB radio Wednesday morning that the officer who threw the teenager to the ground had “had a bad day”.
The Commissioner also said police “certainly could have handled that situation better” regardless of whether the arrest should have taken place or not.
Since the footage surfaced online, the police officer involved has been placed on restricted duties and an internal investigation has been launched.
While NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was glad an investigation had been opened, Police Minister David Elliott defended the officer in question on Wednesday, saying the police response was “not unprovoked”.
“The important message here is that Sydney is not Minnesota and the situation that we had two days ago in Sydney was not unprovoked,” Minister Elliott said.
The Minister also said he was “horrified” by the language used by the teenager prior to his arrest.
“I was just as disturbed about the threat from a young person to physically assault a police officer as I was with the response from the police officer,” he said.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt did not return NIT’s calls requesting comment on the issue.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the injured boy’s family said the actions taken so far aren’t enough and want charges laid against the officer.
“The use of excessive force was unnecessary … this police officer [involved] must be charged,” said the teenager’s sister at the press conference.
Change the Record Executive Officer, Sophie Trevitt, indicated via Twitter Wednesday she found Minister Elliott’s response to the incident “disturbing”.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said he was “just as disturbed” by the child’s WORDS as he was by a police officer kicking the child in the legs, pushing him face down into the ground and then twisting his arms into handcuffs as the child cried out in pain.
— Sophie Trevitt (@SophieTrevitt) June 3, 2020
This incident comes as protests continue to rage across the United States over the death of George Floyd.
Protests in solidarity have also taken place across Australia as Floyd’s death draws comparisons to the 2015 death of Dunghutti man, David Dungay Jr, First Nations deaths in custody and police brutality.
By Hannah Cross