Aboriginal elder claims police bashed him
By ANDY PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org A 68-YEAR-OLD Bundjalung elder has accused Casino police officers of assaulting him when he went to the police station to support his grandson.
Lindsay Gordon told a meeting at the Casino RSM Club yesterday he and other members of his family went to Casino police station last Friday with his grandson Josh Gordon, who intended to make a statement in relation to an incident that occurred the previous Wednesday night.
Mr Gordon said they walked into the police station and ‘calmly sat down’.
“What happened after that would shock you,” he told the meeting.
When an officer told Josh to come through, Mr Gordon asked if he could come in too. He said an officer then grabbed Josh ‘in a violent way’. Mr Gordon said he intervened and tried to pull the officer’s hands away.
“All I heard then was ‘assault, assault’. It was a set-up, it had to be. Then I was assaulted and blacked out. What happened after that will come out later, legally. We’ll do this legally,” he said. “What happened there was disgraceful.”
Several other elders and family members spoke of Mr Gordon as a well-respected and humble man.
Richmond Local Area Commander Superintendent Bruce Lyons said he had spoken to Mr Walker about the incident.
“I sat on a chair out the front of the police station with him and my initial reaction was that he was a gentle person and a nice man,” he said
Supt Lyons said it was hard for him to make a public comment on the incident because it would go before a court.
“I’m not hiding behind anything in doing that and I am happy to talk to anyone on an individual, private basis,” he said.
About 200 people from the Casino community attended the meeting, which was called to foster better relations between the police and the Aboriginal community. A lot of anger at the meeting was directed at the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLOs), who liaise between police and any Aboriginal people brought before them.
Mr Gordon’s daughter, Brenda Simpson, who was present at the police station at the time of the alleged assault on her father, said they had been given assurances an ACLO would be present.
“If I had known an ACLO was not going to be there, I would never have taken my father and nephew to the police. It was like a war zone. It was a disgrace and an insult to my father. I’ve had to watch what he went through last Friday and it’s going to take him a long time to get over it,” she said.
On the previous Wednesday, January 30, Josh Gordon was involved in an incident where he claims he was attacked outside a Casino hotel. He also has been charged with three counts of assault.
One of the first witnesses to arrive on the scene was Lenkunyar Roberts, who accused the police of not following proper procedures and protocols. She said police didn’t take any statements at the time.
“If they’d dealt with it at the time in an appropriate manner, the assault on the elder might not have taken place,” she said.