In just one week there has been three reports of police brutality in Victoria. It is clear that there is a systemic problem that is allowing police to abuse their powers. The community should have confidence in the ability of police to use their powers appropriately, and to investigate allegations of misconduct in an impartial manner. However, the frequency of reported incidents of police misconduct shows that the reality is far from this.
The first incident this week involved a disabled pensioner being dragged, pinned down and beaten in his front yard. His CCTV camera recorded the entire incident showing him in a helpless and abused state. Another video was released of a man being repeatedly punched and kicked in the head by police during an arrest in a Melbourne pharmacy. The most recent incident involved a man being hurled around by officers when his face hit the door of a holding cell causing him to bleed severely.
The police are not only mistreating people but they are failing to investigate allegations of misconduct. Victoria’s Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) recently conducted an investigation into police corruption. The inquiry revealed that 51 per cent of investigated cases failed to consider all relevant evidence, 61 per cent did not address human rights issues and 32 per cent showed signs of inadequate supervision. Police cannot be trusted to conduct internal investigations and police culture is in fact facilitating such misconduct.
Police Brutality in NSW
These cases and IBAC’s recent findings show that police misconduct is a systemic issue and needs to be addressed immediately. Of course this is not unique to Victoria with many instances of police brutality also occurring in NSW. For example, the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) is currently investigating a case involving a violent arrest of a 16 year old boy where he was repeatedly beaten by police officers.
O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors have also dealt with many cases where clients have been mistreated by police. We have successfully represented clients who have sued the police for compensation after being assaulted, unlawfully arrested and/or unlawfully imprisoned.
If you have been mistreated by police or other authorities, speak to us about what legal options you may have. Contact us on (02) 9261 4281.