Footage has emerged online of a white police officer using force to slam an Aboriginal teenager to the ground in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills.
The video was posted to Facebook on Monday evening and stated that a 17-year-old Indigenous man was with friends in a park 100m from his home when the incident occurred.
“(They were) doing nothing just being boys hanging out with each other when Police arrest (sic) him for no reason at all,” the accompanying caption to the post said.
“He was taken to the police station and down to the holding cells.”
In the footage, the police officer can be seen having a tense conversation with the group before the teenager said “I’ll crack you across the jaw, bro.”
The police officer then arrested the teen and kicked his feet from under him, which resulted in the teen’s face being pressed into the ground.
The Facebook post said the teen was transferred to holding cells and onto St Vincent’s Hospital via ambulance where a family member took photos of his injuries.
“I have just come from the hospital and he is awaiting X-Ray’s,” the family member continued in the post.
“(He) also sustained a bruised shoulder, cuts and grazing to his knee, face and elbow and chipped teeth. I have read the facts sheets and no charges have been laid, as police state he will be charged at a later date.”
NSW Police told HuffPost Australia the constable involved has been placed on restricted duties while a review is carried out.
“It’s alleged a 17-year-old boy from the group threatened an officer, before being arrested and taken to Surry Hills Police Station,” the police said.
“He was subsequently taken to St Vincent’s Hospital for observation before being released into the custody of family pending further inquiries.
“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest is now underway by officers attached to the Professional Standards Command.”
As the US faces more protests after the death of unarmed Black man George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, tensions have been felt on home soil.
Nearly 2,000 people rallied in Perth overnight and more Black Lives Matter protests are planned across the country for this week.
Leading Australian criminal lawyer Nick Hanna said this footage is especially worrying because the officer seemed to know he was being filmed and he still showed minimal hesitation to use violence against a young Aboriginal person, despite race tensions building not just across the US but in many global cities.
“While we do not know all of the circumstances leading up to the arrest, it does appear clear from the footage that it was unlawful,” Hanna told HuffPost Australia.
“Under NSW law, the power to arrest must be a measure of last resort. That is because in a democratic society the removal of someone’s liberty should never be done lightly. In cases where police are entitled to arrest, they must comply with certain safeguards and can only do so using as much force as is necessary.”
Hanna said that, in this case, if the young person was not resisting or seeking to flee, the officer may have had other options available to him, such as the issuing of a court attendance notice.
“Where police use unnecessary force, they are committing an assault,” he added.
Hanna recommends all Australians that witness police confrontation or who may become involved in an incident with police, film it.
“This is in the hope that it deters the police from using excessive force,” Hanna said.
“And helps the victims of such excessive force get justice.”