Racist police raid on Redfern

Issue 

Racist police raid on Redfern

By Paul Howes

SYDNEY — More than 40 police stormed the predominantly Aboriginal Eveleigh Street, Redfern, in a military style raid on the night of January 14.

The raid was the latest in a series of measures adopted by the new NSW police chief, Peter Ryan, to "reclaim the streets". The methods used reflect the approach adopted by United States police forces.

The raid was ordered after an incident which occurred when police went into the street to arrest a youth on suspicion of dealing heroin. Police attacked the youth from behind and wrestled him to the ground, at which seven or eight other local young people ran to his defence.

Fighting broke out and the police fled to their car. Soon after, 40 crack troops stormed Eveleigh Street searching houses. The police arrested one youth, who was charged with three counts of assaulting police and three counts of resisting arrest.

Residents and community organisations were outraged. Sister Pat Ormesher, who runs a local drop-in centre, described it as "a return to the raid-and-riot days of old".

Beth Jewell from the Redfern Legal Centre told Green Left, "The actions by the police were ill conceived, aggressive and inappropriate. Raids and over-policing will increase the tension in our community and compound the effects of existing discrimination. These are tactics that are used against only those most disadvantaged in our society."

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