NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller defended the actions of police in the arrest of NRL star Curtis Scott, stating he feels “sympathetic” for officers that deal with “drunken idiots every night”.
Scott was arrested by police after he passed out in Moore Park in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, following a night out at the Ivy Nightclub in the Sydney CBD in January of this year.
Was Curtis Scott even being a drunken idiot?
The body-cam footage shows officers telling Scott “don’t resist [arrest]” while he lays at the base of a tree, disorientated and barely conscious.
And even so, that doesn’t excuse the use of harmful and excessive force far above the required amount.
Sympathetic towards the officers involved in Curtis Scott arrest: Police Commissioner
On Ben Fordham‘s show in 2GB, Fuller defended the actions of the police officer. Those actions were handcuffing, tasing and pepper-spraying the sleeping drunk man in a public park.
Fuller stated that the police responded to a call of trespass, as Scott was allegedly trespassing at the time of the incident. However, no charges have been laid in relation to that claim.
“What I’m saying is I’m sympathetic for police, who had to do something with him. The other option is this – you put a baton under each of his arms, you squeeze it down and you put him in the back of a truck. That is no less painful than being sprayed. Nevertheless, to get him up and to get him out of that place, police have to go hands on,” Fuller said.
Is that the only other option though?
Police discretion resorting to excessive force
The NSW Police have discretion in almost any action they take. They could have decided to leave Scott there and he would likely sleep off the intoxication. They could have contacted health workers or paramedics to see to Scott and confirm whether he was indeed a harm to himself by remaining in the park. They could have told him to go home or called a cab.
There is an understanding that police work is difficult and split decisions must be made, however, this incident, fully captured by the body-worn camera, displays an excessive use of force and the default position of police officers to resort to physical and forceful methods of carrying out their work.
The use of the taser on the disorientated man was especially concerning. The use of tasers by NSW Police is at their discretion, with guidance from the “use of electrical weapons” policy.
“The Taser may be discharged at the discretion of the Taser User after proper assessment of the situation and the environment to:
- Protect human life
- Protect yourself or others where violent confrontation or violent resistance is occurring or imminent
- Protect an officer(s) in danger of being overpowered or to protect themselves or another person from the risk of actual bodily harm
- Protection from animals”
Magistrate Jennifer Giles deemed the arrest unlawful. Five of the original seven charges were then dropped by police, with the remaining two dismissed by Giles.
If you have been unlawfully arrested or assault by police, contact O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors for a free consultation on 02 9261 4281 or .