Phone cameras carrying the weight of police accountability

Phone cameras carrying the weight of police accountability

Who knew that the development of smartphones would equip people with the best tool in police accountability?

Police can’t prevent people from filming them in a public place, and the result of such filming has shed light on the attitudes and behaviours of Police Officers.

Heavy-handed actions captured on film

Last June a NSW Police Office was placed on restricted duties after a video emerged of the officer tripping an Indigenous teenager while arresting him, slamming his face into the brick pavement.

A family member of the 16-year-old boy said he had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital to receive x-rays after the arrest.

One of the boy’s relatives posted the video stating that he was with his friends 100m from his home when police arrested him – the family member stated the arrest was for no reason at all.

The police officer said “open up your ears”, to which someone off-camera replied: “I don’t need to open my ears, I’ll crack you across the jaw, bro.”

The officer then began arresting the boy, using his leg to pull the teenager’s feet from under him while his arms were held behind his back, causing the teenager to slam face-first into the bricks and garden bed.

The boy could be heard groaning and whining in pain.

“He is in pain, bro, I’ve never heard that,” said one of the group in the video.

Another person off-camera shouted: “You just slammed him on the face!”

The boy had sustained a bruised shoulder, cuts to his knee, face and elbow, and chipped teeth, she said.

The laws of camera phones in public

Under NSW law, Police cannot prevent you from filming in a public place, nor can they make you delete any content that you record.

If you’re witnessing an interaction between police and a citizen, it’s recommended that you record the interaction.

If you’ve had an encounter with the police and want to seek legal advice, contact O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors on 02 9261 4281.

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