Action against police brutality

Issue 

The Indigenous Social Justice Association released this statement on February 25.

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The Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), is organising a rally outside the office of the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) in Sydney as part of a national day of action for Justice for Rex Bellotti Jnr.

We will send the message to all Australian police forces that all forms of police brutality must end.

Bellotti was run over by a WA police car on March 6, 2009. Although badly injured, the WA police never accepted responsibility for their actions. Rex Jnr. was a very good football player but now is in real danger of losing his leg. His family has had to pick up the bill for all the treatments needed for his injuries.

There have been cases of police violence in NSW. In Ballina, on January 14, 2011, an Aboriginal man, Corey Barker, was charged with being involved in a violent street confrontation between two of his friends and police.

He was also charged with punching a senior constable at the Ballina police station during a brutal struggle in which police kicked his head, kneed his torso and dragged him to a cell, handcuffed, for more than one hour.

Six police officers’ had prepared near identical written statements that Mr. Barker had started the fracas with a punch and four of them later confirmed that evidence in court, on oath.

But all the charges against Mr. Barker were eventually dropped by the magistrate hearing the case. More than that, they were referred to the PIC. The PIC heard that not only had the police officers written similar statements, but that this was standard practice in the Richmond Local Area Command.

One statement was sent to an officer by email whilst Const. Mewing, one the police officers under investigation, stated his Field Training Officer had taught him to share statements among officers who were present at the same incidents.

Finally the same Constable admitted that Corey Barker never punched a police officer but it was in fact the police who had “smashed him against the wall, struck Corey with a knee to his stomach, had stomped on his head and he was then dragged painfully to the cell”.

After his admission to the use of police brutality against Corey, he had to also accept in front of the PIC that he had lied in court, that his witness statement was false and he had only changed it when he was told there was footage of the incident that proved that he was a liar.

The rally will gather at St James Court, 111 Elizabeth St, Sydney on March 6, at 12 noon.