Man tells commission of alleged assault by police
TENSION in the crowd at a hearing over the alleged police bashing of a young Northern Rivers man was palpable yesterday as the victim gave a startling account of his night at the Ballina watchhouse.
Corey Barker, 23, told the Police Integrity Commission he was assaulted by four "cowardly" cops as they attempted to drag him down to the "back cells...where there are no cameras" on January 14, 2011.
Some of the officers present at the hearing struggled to remain composed as Barker suggested he had been attacked so severely, it appeared as if his "arms were broken".
Barker's arrest eventuated from an altercation with police at the scene of a domestic dispute earlier in the evening.
His friends told the commission on Monday that Barker had gone to the aid of a couple who were fighting with each other and police outside a local shopping centre.
Barker, who at the time was serving a suspended sentence for assaulting police, was taken into custody for allegedly resisting arrest.
He told the commission he was angry at police because "in my eyes I was doing something totally right and then I was treated like a piece of garbage".
The commission was played a video recording of Barker punching the perspex during a conversation with his mother in the holding dock at the Ballina station.
He claimed he was responding to taunting from officers who were attempting to infuriate him further by making gestures behind his mother's back like they were "trying to squeeze her arse".
A violent struggle between Barker and four officers was later captured on CCTV footage.
Barker was charged with serious assault of a police officer.
A Ballina magistrate dismissed the charge and referred the footage to PIC last March.
While he admitted to having very little recollection of his struggle with police, Barker said "just because I don't remember every detail, doesn't mean I don't acknowledge something happened".
Asked how he knew he had received injuries at the watchhouse, Barker said that when he had come to his senses in a police paddy wagon en route to the Lismore courthouse, the vehicle hit a bump and "every bit of my body ached".
Bruising and scratching on various parts of Baker's body was later photographed by his mother.
The morning after his release, Barker went to the Ballina Hospital emergency department and told a doctor he had been assaulted by an "unknown person".
Medical records state Barker presented with "no significant injuries" and denied having been intoxicated the night before.
Barker was questioned yesterday about a follow-up visit to the Bullinah Aboriginal Health Service where he disclosed to a doctor that it was police who had allegedly assaulted him.
He said he had been "paranoid" about talking to the doctor at the hospital and felt he was "leaving himself wide open" for the possibility the police would be contacted and told to attend.
Only Barker, his friends and the couple involved in the domestic dispute which triggered the events, have taken the stand so far.
Unlike court proceedings, witnesses have been allowed to remain in the room while their peers have given evidence.
Two of the officers involved are expected to tell their side of the story later today.