Violent arrest: Youth workers want their say at hearing
BYRON social workers have launched a Gofundme campaign to support their attendance at a forthcoming Law Enforcement Conduct Commission hearing over the violent arrest of a 16-year-old in Byron Bay.
The January 11 incident in which it appeared the teen was hit at least 16 times was captured on video and went viral after being aired by Channel Nine's A Current Affair.
The public hearing into the incident by the independent commission will start in Sydney on Monday next week and is expected to run for several days.
The hearing will investigate whether any of the officers involved in the apprehension, detention or treatment of the boy in the early hours of January 11 engaged in "serious misconduct."
A campaign was launched today by Byron youth workers to raise funds to attend the hearing alongside other community members.
"We are urgently seeking funding donations in a hurry for airfares, airport transfers and expenses to enable representatives of the Byron Community to attend the public forum next Monday," the group said in a statement.
"Byron youth advocate Nicqui Yazdi and youth leader James Wright, at the very least, would like to attend this hearing, on behalf of the Byron community, and write a report on the proceedings, to bring back to the people of Byron, who have been desperately seeking answers to how this incident occurred and how the initial internal police investigation was conducted and the lack of transparency on this incident from the police.
"Upon our return we will co-write a public report for the Byron community, and media reports on the hearing."
The group is aiming to raise at least $1000 to fund the trip.
"It is important that the community of Byron is represented at this hearing and not just the Byron police involved in the incident," the statement said.
The statement also claimed that it had been recently revealed the 16-year-old had Asperger's syndrome, and "had been dining out with his parents in Byron that evening, had wandered off for a walk and been given wine by a group of young people and had become disoriented prior to having been arrested by police".
"His parents were not contacted until a number of hours later, when they received a call from the Byron Hospital staff.
"If you can spare a few dollars to assist Byron community representatives to get to Sydney for this important hearing, please help with a donation.... and the more donations, the higher the possibility that we can fund other local community representatives to travel to the hearing."
The Gofundme site can be reached here: