'Constantly targeted': Indigenous teen's family speak out after arrest outrage

·4-min read

The family of an Indigenous teenager who had his legs kicked out from beneath him while being arrested in Sydney has called for the police constable responsible to be charged.

The sister of the 16-year-old said her family was angry and frustrated following the incident in a Surry Hills park on Monday when the teen was arrested after appearing to threaten to assault the police officer.

"The frustration of being constantly targeted by police... and not being able to place your trust in people who are employed to protect to you is sad and worrisome," she told reporters on Wednesday.

The Indigenous boy's family took a knee on stage during a press conference in Sydney.
The boy's family, led by his father, make a stand, taking a knee in support of people of colour who have faced abuse. Source: Nine News

"This police officer must be charged so we don't have to deal with another incident like this."

The boy's mother said her son shouldn't feel like he was living "inside a prison made up of the whole world".

"Because we're Aboriginal... we experience extra obligation to answer to people, who we are, where we're going... when we're just walking along," she told reporters.

The incident comes during ongoing civil unrest in the US after the death of African-American man George Floyd.

But Police Minister David Elliott said Sydney was not Minnesota.

"I was just as disturbed about the threat from a young person to physically assault a police officer as I was with the response from the police officer," Mr Elliott said.

‘In solidarity’ with George Floyd’s family

The Indigenous boy’s dad said the family stands “in solidarity” with the Floyds following the death.

He also encouraged his family to take a knee as they spoke to the media.

The father said his son's experience was reminiscent of his own treatment as a young man.

The boy's sister has spoken out at a press conference after the Surry Hills arrest.
The boy's sister said the police officer in the video 'must be charged'. Source: Nine News

NSW Police is investigating after the youth was taken to hospital with minor injuries following his arrest which was captured on a mobile phone and posted on social media.

In the footage a person is heard saying, "I'll crack you in the f***ing jaw, bro", before the boy was swept to the ground and handcuffed. He was later released without charge.

Police allege the boy “threatened an officer”.

His sister said regardless of the threat, he should not have been thrown to the ground.

"Teenagers, they're lippy, but you don't just abuse children because they're lippy," she told ABC radio on Tuesday.

‘Is the force the officer used reasonable?’

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Wednesday admitted there were other ways the officer could have dealt with the verbal threat.

"This is a case of two things – is it reasonable for someone to swear and threaten a police officer and, then, is the force the officer used reasonable?" Mr Fuller said on 2GB radio.

"I don't know what happened before in terms of the lead-up, but there were probably other ways the officer could have dealt with that matter, no doubt."

A Widjabul woman from the Bundjalung Nations, Larissa Baldwin, is seen during the candlelight vigil to protest against the deaths in custody of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people held in Musgrave Park in Brisbane.
A Widjabul woman from the Bundjalung Nations, Larissa Baldwin, holds a candlelit vigil in Brisbane's Musgrave Park on Wednesday night. Source: AAP

The police force's professional standards command is investigating and the constable has been placed on restricted duties.

NSW Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Karly Warner said Monday's incident was not isolated.

"Aboriginal kids are routinely harassed, stopped, questioned and searched by police for no reason," Ms Warner told reporters on Wednesday.

The lawyer said the family wanted to know what will happen to the officers who watched the arrest.

A NSW Police officer is pictured detaining an Indigenous teen.
There's been outrage over the video of the boy's arrest. Source: Facebook

NSW Labor indigenous affairs spokesman David Harris said the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission should review how police officers interact with Aboriginal people.

National Justice Project lawyer George Newhouse said the family has requested he launch a private prosecution if the constable is not charged, while the Redfern Legal Centre has referred the matter to the independent police watchdog.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting