Saturday, October 30, 2010

Australian police fear photography too

British police have an absolute phobia about photography and some American States also have laws that police routinely abuse to stop photography

A POLICEWOMAN has been caught on camera threatening to "smash" a photographer's phone as he filmed a routine arrest in King Cross.

The female officer is seen on the video walking a short distance from an arrest on Darlinghurst Road to confront several cameramen who were filming on public property.

The arrested man, who was pinned on the ground by four officers and later charged with resisting police, was heard screaming and witnesses allegedly saw one of the officers "putting their knees into his head" during a violent confrontation about 2am.

After the man was restrained, the female officer allegedly approached a photographer and aggressively shoved him in the chest. An officer told the photographer "you wanker, you're such a hero". Not long after the female officer is heard to say, `turn it (the mobile camera) off now before I smash it on the ground'.

Police officers attempted to block the view of the media, who were standing more than 10m away, and cleared away the large crowd that had gathered.

A witness said the police had over-reacted. "The policing was brutal. The guy on the floor was not even fighting back and then [the officers] came over in a threatening way and started intimidating and pushing people - it was like they had something to hide,” he said.

Kings Cross Local Area Command Superintendent Tony Crandell said he had spoken with the junior female officer about her actions and admitted that it could have been `handled better'. "I've spoken with the officer and she has acknowledged that her actions were inappropriate," Supt Crandell said.

Supt Crandell said he had reviewed footage from the incident. "The context of the situation was that a violent offender was being arrested and that person was behaving in an offensive fashion, smashing bottles on to the roadway, picking up scraps of the bottles and throwing them further down the roadway," he said.

Supt Crandell said he had handled the matter 'at a local level' and no disciplinary action would be taken against the female officer. "I've reminded the officer about her responsibilities under the media policy and that media have rights to film."

Supt Crandell said it had become tougher to do police work in Kings Cross because of phone cameras and increased CC-TV surveillance.


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