Following the arrest of an Indigenous teenager in June last year, Aboriginal Legal Services has welcomed charges brought against a serving NSW Police officer.
Earlier this week, the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT (ALS) announced the charges brought against a serving NSW Police officer for common assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm of a boy in Surry Hills, Ward Park last year.
Video footage of the boy’s arrest went viral at the time, coinciding with Black Lives Matter protests worldwide following the murder of George Floyd by a US police officer.
“Aboriginal people are too often the target of systemic racism and police mistreatment. We are routinely harassed, stopped, questioned, and searched by police for no reason. We are refused bail at higher rates and disproportionately pursued through the courts for minor offences,” said Karly Warner, chief executive of ALS.
“You can’t have justice without accountability. Police should be subject to the same laws that apply to the community. We welcome this step towards justice.”
The unnamed boy’s family has also welcomed the charges brought against the serving police officer.
“We as a family are happy with the way this is now proceeding, legally and fairly,” said a family spokesperson.
“We know we cannot discuss the details of this case now that charges have been laid. We as a family cry and share the grief and pain of the families who have had the lives of their young Black sons and daughters taken away from them violently by police and custodial authorities.
“Aboriginal people across Australia have been unfairly treated, racially vilified, and systematically oppressed since 1788.
“We look forward to the law being applied with fairness and justice.”
According to a statement made by the NSW Police, the officer’s employment status is under review.