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6 Mar 2013

Police accused of brutality at Sydney Mardi Gras

Allegations of police brutality at the Sydney Mardi Gras parade last weekend have been reported as a video of a teen being handcuffed and thrown to the ground by a policeman after the parade has gone viral and from a second man who has come forward.

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The video, which was filmed by a member of the press on Saturday night after the Mardi Gras parade and posted on YouTube, shows a young man being forced down heavily by a police officer who stood with one foot on his back for at least 20 seconds. It shows 18-year-old Jamie Jackson, who had been handcuffed, repeatedly asking "What did I do wrong?" but received no reply. He has been charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest, reported Sky News.


18-year-old Jamie Jackson. Photos: Facebook, video




The video has attracted over 250,000 views as at 1pm (+8GMT), Wednesday.

It's not clear from the footage what prompted Jackson's arrest but the police have been quoted in local reports saying that he used offensive language, assaulted a police officer and resisted arrest. The video however does not appear to show him resisting arrest, although the initial encounter between the young man and officers was not shown in the film.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Reilly Street and Oxford Street, Surry Hills in sight of dozens of onlookers, many of whom screaming at the police officer to stop.

A witness was heard on the video saying: "This [officer] here grabbed his throat and smashed his skull on the pavement" while another woman said: "They just slammed his head; there's blood all over the ground."

The police officer had attempted to ask the person who was filming to stop but was told by himself and onlookers that it's legal to film police officers in public.

In another video released by Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and posted on The Australian newspaper's website, it showed two police officers wrestling Jackson to the ground.

The video has prompted calls for an independent investigation into the conduct of police at the Mardi Gras event.

The co-chair of the Mardi Gras, Peter Urmson, was quoted as saying by the UK's  Guardian newspaper that the footage was "disgusting" and welcomed the investigation. "Mardi Gras was born out of police brutality 35 years ago and it's ironic that that night was celebration how far we've come as a community working together with other parts of the community. I now kind of wonder, how far have we really come?" he said. "Certainly the gay and lesbian community is up in arms about this."

A second man has come forward to allege he was a victim of excessive police force during Saturday event. Bryn Hutchinson, 32, a social worker from Sydney, claims he was thrown to the ground by officers at the corner of Oxford and Crown streets in Darlinghurst as he attended the annual gay and lesbian event with friends.


A picture of injuries sustained by Bryn Hutchinson, who has been charged
with assaulting police. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

He said police asked him not to cross the road at about 11pm but he did, and attempted to "negotiate" with officers because in his view there was no vehicle traffic on the street. "It turned into a physical thing very quickly," Hutchison said. "I was pushed onto the ground, knelt on and kicked several times. "There's not any question it was an excessive use of force."

He said he was placed into a police car and given a court attendance notice, charged with assaulting police.

A protest is being planned this Friday at Taylor Square from 6pm to march to the Surry Hills Police Station to demand justice for the two incidents. For details, see the Facebook event page.

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-03-06 13:51
Red-necks and neo-nazis from the Christian right, bedfellows of George W. Bush, John Howard and their entire rotten coterie of Christian hypocrites. Hitler's hatred still lives among the living, especially among so-called law abiding Christian fundamentalists. Christianity should be banned because it's a tool of violence, belligerence and oppression.
2. 2013-03-06 14:17
Regarding comment #1- did we both read the same article above? You seem to have an agenda, its quite the stretch to tie in neo nazis/hitlers hatred and thoughts on christianity fundamentalism to a story on police brutality.
My thoughts are with the victims, i hope justice is served..
3. 2013-03-06 15:26
1st, tell you all , It use to call Sydney G/L Mardi Gras. Now changed to Sydney Mardi Gras.
It even the police treats homosexuals in this way. And it is a frequent occurrence. In a certain sense, It explains why homosexuals violence still consistently happens in Sydney.
4. 2013-03-06 17:14
How anyone could drag George W Bush, John Howard, the Nazi's and the conservative Christian movement into it all in the same gasp of air does sound a bit like you are just stirring up hatred without just cause.

My suggestion is that people should stop thinking of it as a Gay bashing by police, who have gone to great lengths over many years to support, protect and facilitate the Mardi Gras. At least wait until after the inquiries are held. Australian inquiries of this nature are often slow but very thorough and on a scale of integrity with 1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest they would be 10's.

This is definitely not a regular occurrence in Australia for a long time now. The police don't hate gays. So the guy with the theory about the police promoting violence against gays in Sydney has got it very wrong when he says It explains why Homosexuals violence still consistently happens in Sydney. That sounds to me like you have an agenda to make people hate the police.

I can think of half a dozen non gay reasons why he might have been treated so heavy handedly so I wouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion he was bashed by Gay hating cops, especially when you consider the event he was at and the Police forces efforts over a number of years to improve community relations, including actively recruiting Gay Men and Women.
5. 2013-03-06 18:39
poor boy :p
6. 2013-03-06 20:02
Here is the link to the original event leading up to the young mans arrest.

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/mardi-gras-incident-one-step-too-far-20130306-2fkee.html

I do not in anyway condone the overzealous and brutal actions of the police following this as it was disgusting and the officer stood be stood down.

This shows NSW is a Police state now if he gets away with this.
7. 2013-03-06 20:23
A Thug in Uniform is still a "Thug"!
A disgusting display of abuse of power and a total lack of professional integrity and human decency.

Totally inappropriate for the situation.
Complete overkill.
Comment edited on 2013-03-06 20:30:31
8. 2013-03-06 20:46
After watching the youtube clip and reading some other articles related to this incident, I do not think it is anything related to gay bashing.

It is however shocking to see law enforcers to use such brutality on anyone. Let alone a person who is clearly unarmed. The loud sound when he hit onto the road was just scary. I hope he does not suffer hidden injury.

And the Australian police definitely has a lot to explain.
9. 2013-03-06 21:39
he's cute,hope it get better
10. 2013-03-07 08:32
Well, comment#2, Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa were both inextricably linked with the Lutheran Church and Free Orange Church, respectively. So, fundamentalist Christianity has always been linked to reactionary, racist, xenophobic and anti-LGBT sentiments. And, just for your info, red-necks in the US come from the Bible Belt and neo-nazis wear not only the Swastika but also crufixes as a symbol of their "divine" origins. The link between Church and bigotry is, therefore, rather palpable.
11. 2013-03-07 15:14
footage from another security camera showed Jamie assaulting the police. there is always two sides to a story guys!
12. 2013-03-07 21:48
barnabasteng.. i don't care what this young man did, there is no excuse for the police to treat him the way they did while he was handcuffed or the police telling the 'press' to stop filming.. that is disgusting to me as well.. power tripping cops making their own laws as they go along? no thank you.
13. 2013-03-08 07:24
Media wants you to see that and they have done it because you and majority of the audience bought it without considering other factors. There is more to it than what you have just seen. Police might have use excessive force and policeman might have to apologise for that but the young man's attitude should not be tolerated as he was the one assaulting the policeman in the first place. thank you.
14. 2013-03-08 11:57
He did punch and kick many times the officer which is seen in another video clip. This was before being thrown to the ground. If he had not have lashed out at the police he probably would not have been arrested.
15. 2013-03-09 00:44
Fervent ideologues like "HEEMALE" can't be bothered by facts and logic. In this respect, they are identical to Fundamentalists everywhere: immune to rational thought, imprisoned by their own prejudices, and opposed to alternative viewpoints.

Ignore them!
16. 2013-03-09 10:21
i didn't buy anything.. i just know what i saw and i saw a handcuffed person being abused by a cop. once a person is in handcuffs their safety is the responsibility of the person who put them in handcuffs. so i was taught in my 'restraint' course. police don't like evidence or witness's to their abuses of power. that cop had no right, legal or otherwise, to tell that person to stop filming.

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