Investigation underway over alleged Mardi Gras brutality

UPDATE: A full police investigation is underway into allegations at least three officers brutally arrested two men at last weekend's gay and lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch confirmed on Wednesday police were taking the allegations "very seriously" but called on the public to "take a breath" and see what the outcome of the investigations were before judging.

He pointed out that police had not received a complaint from either of the men depicted in videos which have gone viral on social media.

One of the videos, which shows 18-year-old Jamie Jackson being pushed to the ground and held down in Oxford St, has already attracted more than 150,000 hits.

In that video, a male officer can be heard telling onlookers to stop filming.

Ass Com Murdoch said it was "absolutely not" police policy to prevent the community from filming in a public space.

He said the officer had unfortunately shown a "degree of naivety" and would be "taken aside and the policy will be reinforced to him".

Both alleged victims are currently before the courts charged with assaulting police.

The officers involved were sent in to the CBD from Fairfield and Parramatta.

Ass Com Murdoch said the relationship between officers and the gay and lesbian community in the city was "first class" but that policing in the western suburbs was "often a different kettle of fish".

He explained the Mardi Gras brought with it "a whole set of its own challenges" but assured the public all allegations would be investigated.

"It is not about doing anything other than what we do day in and day out which is policing by consent with the support of the community," Ass Com said.

"We are not a third world organisation...we are not about jeopardising relationships built up over time which are productive and fruitful and I don't think will be irrevocably damaged by what's alleged to have occurred."

NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann has called for an independent investigation into the actions of police at the Mardi Gras.

Describing the online footage as "very disturbing" and "deeply shocking to the gay community", Ms Faehrmann suggested the investigation should examine whether homophobia was involved in the policing of the crowds.

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young claimed the celebrations had been "overshadowed" by the allegations.

Ass Com Murdoch said the Greens "should leave policing to the police and get on with what they need to get on with".

He warned against anyone "jumping to conclusions" and appealed for those who had witnessed or filmed wither incidents to come forward.

"There seem to be some clear understanding that we have seen but one small part of what is clearly a much larger incident," he said.

"What actually happened and the full circumstances will be disclosed in time, once our internal investigations and criminal investigations...have run their course."

 

 

EARLIER: Police will address the media this morning over allegations officers brutally attacked a young man during an arrest at Mardi Gras celebrations.

A video of 18-year-old Jamie Jackson struggling with officers in Oxford St has attractted more than 150,000 hits on social media since it was posted online over the weekend.

In the footage, onlookers can be heard calling for the police to stop as Jamie is pushed to the ground and held down.
One says "we just saw you whack his head on the ground.

Jamie repeatedly says "I've done nothing wrong".

Already, the NSW Greens have called for an external investigation.

Police Association chief Scott Weber told the Herald the public had only seen a "small snippet" of the incident and proper investigation, rather than "trial by social media" would need to take place.

Jamie has since been charged with assaulting police.

He is due to front court on April 1.



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