A former police officer has lost his court battle to keep from public view CCTV footage of him allegedly brutalising detainees at the Broome Police station in March and April.
The last of several applications in the WA Supreme Court to prevent the release of the footage were dismissed today, paving the way for the Corruption and Crime Commission to release it.
The footage of incidents on March 29 and April 19 was tabled in Parliament this afternoon along with the CCC’s report on its investigation into the conduct, which left one detainee with a fractured finger and haemorrhaged eye.
The CCC made two findings of misconduct against the former officer at the centre of the clashes and is preparing a brief of evidence against him for possible criminal charges.
The officer, whose name has been suppressed, had his face obscured in the vision released today.
He resigned from WA Police in May.
Another nine officers were severely criticised in the report for failing to intervene and failing to report the incidents.
One is the subject of two misconduct opinions – conduct which could be grounds for dismissal – while another two are considered to have engaged in “reviewable police action” under the CCC Act.
The CCC said in a statement that one of these officers avoided a misconduct opinion “by the finest of margins”.
In the footage, a handcuffed 18-year-old man was dragged through the Broome station in a neck hold by the former officer while other officers watched.
The young man, codenamed D1, has both feet off the ground at one point and has his neck pulled back by the force of the neck hold.
Three weeks later, the same officer is captured on CCTV camera punching and dropping his knee on a 31-year-old detainee codenamed D4 after the detainee hit him on the nose.
The detainee is later thrown on to the floor of the charge room face down while his hands are cuffed behind him, in direct contravention of the WA Police manual, which warns asphyxia can result from being left in such a position.
The CCC criticised another officer for failing to check on the welfare of the detainee in the position, instead removing D4’s short to search them.
The finger and eye injuries were detected when he went to hospital upon being released from prison 10 days after the incident.
The report warns that failure of supervision may be a “systemic issue for WA Police”.
Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said that assaults were regrettable and disappointing.
Mr O’Callaghan said that he had personally apologised to the Aboriginal victim (referred to as D4 in the CCC report) in May this year.
“The CCC investigation has taken too long, there is clearly an offence and yet the former officer involved has still not been charged by the CCC,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
Mr O’Callaghan said the value of CCTV was that it revealed that the offence had occurred and WA Police had immediately responded with an investigation, before the CCC commenced its own investigation.
Mr O’Callaghan said both assaults emanated from the actions of one individual, and were not the result of inadequate training or procedures.
“What we can control is how swiftly and effectively we can respond to such isolated incidents and – in this case, we acted immediately,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
WA Police Union President George Tilbury said the union is disappointed with the decision to immediately release the CCTV footage.
We believe the publication of this footage impedes the rights of officers to natural justice, he said.
The Union will now review the CCC report.