Monday, June 10, 2013

W.A.: Watch-house bashing revealed on CCTV

FOOTAGE of a police officer repeatedly punching a prisoner and dragging another through a watch-house by his neck has been shown to a public hearing held by Western Australia's corruption watchdog.

The footage, taken by CCTV cameras at the Broome watchhouse in WA's Kimberley region, shows the same senior constable involved in two separate incidents less than three weeks apart earlier this year.

After viewing the footage, Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan served a loss of confidence notice on the 31-year-old constable, who has since resigned from the force.

In the first incident on March 29, the officer appears to place a teenager arrested for obstructing police in a neck hold before dragging him inside after he refused to leave a police van.

As the hysterical girlfriend of the teenager looks on, the youngster is placed in a padded cell and stripped - as numerous other officers watch.

In the second incident captured by CCTV, a man is seen swinging a punch in the Broome watch-house after being arrested for public drinking.

The senior constable reacts by swinging several hard punches. Then, as the prisoner lies on the floor, the officer appears to drop his knee twice on the head of the man, who goes limp.

The prisoner is then dragged inside where another camera shows him flying forward through a doorway onto the hard floor with his hands cuffed behind him.

As other police look on, another officer removes the man's shorts and searches them.

Some time later, when the detainee is back on his feet, the 31-year-old constable is alleged to have said to him: “Nice face, ****.”  He then added: “Nothing wrong with mine. You punch like a faggot.”

The detainee suffered a broken finger and swelling to his eye, according to Gail Archer SC, counsel assisting the Commissioner Roger Macknay of the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).

The public hearings into the incidents, beginning today, were ordered by the CCC.

Ms Archer said the hearings would investigate the use of force by the officers, and what other officers at the station could - and should - have done.

Two other officers were stood down over the incidents, although one of them, a 38-year-old female, has since returned to her duties.

Commissioner Macknay ruled that the identity of the two arrested men and the former officer should be suppressed during the hearing, while the CCTV footage would not immediately be released to media.

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