Sunday, September 26, 2021

Victoria Police censored 'vital' media coverage of Melbourne protests

Victoria Police censored vital media coverage of Melbourne's protests by banning the live-streaming of aerial footage, according to Digital Editor Jack Houghton.

On Wednesday the Civil Aviation Safety Authority approved a Victoria Police ban of all helicopters bar their own flying over Melbourne CBD.

"A media blackout," Mr Houghton said. "A pathetic attempt by an over-zealous police force which lost control of its own city.

"You deserve to know what's happening in your city every moment of every day, and in my experience, police only ever want you to stop filming when they are worried about stuffing something up."

Friday, September 24, 2021

Victoria’s police commissioner comments on social media video of man being slammed to ground at Flinders Station

Victoria Police’s chief commissioner has commented on footage circulating of a heavy-handed arrest in Melbourne.

The 12-second clip emerged overnight on Wednesday and is believed to have been filmed during the day of protesting action across the city.

Footage shows a man talking to at least three police officers at Flinders Street Station.

Another officer then approaches the man from behind and appears to slam him into the ground.

The man appears to strike the ground face-first and the person who filmed the footage says he lost consciousness and was bleeding.

“This poor guy was calm, he was just talking to the police, you can see it in the video then he gets thrown to the ground,” the caption on the video said.

“You can see it in the video then he gets thrown to the ground. You can hear his face hit the tiles. He was unconscious, blood and urine everywhere.”

On Thursday morning, Police Commissioner Shane Patton spoke to 3AW and was asked about the video.

“We’ll investigate that. I don’t know what the full circumstances are,” Patton told the station.

“There’s always context to everything. We’ll investigate it with an open mind.”

Patton said he was not “jumping to any conclusions”.

Victoria Police said in a statement it was aware of the circulating vision.

“The exact circumstances around the incident are yet to be determined and are under investigation by both Transit Safety Division and Professional Standards Command.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Aboriginal man flees the police in unregistered car. Crashes and dies

His own worst enemy

Raymond Noel Thomas was driving to the shops to buy chocolate in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote in June 2017 when police in a patrol vehicle saw he was driving an unregistered car.

Officers decided the car "looked dodgy" and when it failed to stop they began a pursuit, which saw both vehicles reach speeds of more than 150km/h.

During the chase, Raymond Noel's vehicle veered to the wrong side of the road, sideswiped an oncoming car, hit a parked car and crashed.

Just over 20 seconds later, the 30-year-old Aboriginal man was dead.

Coroner John Olle's findings handed down on Monday quoted a statement by Auntie Debbie, Raymond Noel's mother.

"The loss of our son, there are no real words to say how heartbreaking, devastated and how heavy we carry grief."

During the inquest, the court heard evidence that the 30-year-old Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Wiradjuri man's first interaction with police was at the age of 10, when officers handcuffed him while he was playing with his cousins on a woodchip mound.

"I can just imagine the fear that Ray must have been experiencing that night, right up until the very end," his father Uncle Ray told the inquest.

Coroner Olle slammed the police pursuits policy that led to the deadly crash, saying the two officers involved, Sergeant John Sybenga and Senior Constable Deborah McFarlane, never considered how the pursuit might end.

"They did not consider whether their attempt to intercept had elevated an initial poor decision not to stop, into a scenario of extreme danger," he said.

The court had heard they were experienced officers who were both licensed to drive at unlimited speeds.

He found police should no longer be able to conduct pursuits for "minor traffic infringements" at speed and without emergency lights.

True blue Aussie bushman and rodeo champ, 75, is fined $100 for carrying a POCKET KNIFE on his belt - despite doing so every day since the age of 14

This is an absurd prosecution from every angle.  Section 2A of the Act  specifically provides that "A person may carry a knife on his or her belt for performing work in primary production."  The magistrate who convicted  him needs to brush up on the law

An elderly bushman who has carried a tiny pocket knife for more than 60 years was charged and forced to face court after possessing the item in public.

Wayne McLennan, 75, is a local legend in his hometown of Chinchilla, Queensland, where he the former rodeo champion is affectionately known as 'Cowboy'.

But last month, when heading home from the local pub, Mr McLennan was stopped and breathalysed by police, before being taken to the station after blowing slightly over the limit.

After producing a second test under the legal blood alcohol level, the policewoman informed him he would be getting charged for another crime. 

'While I was there she said 'but I am going to charge you for wearing a pocket knife in public'. I said "what? I didn't know you weren't allowed to wear one",' he told A Current Affair.

'I've been wearing one since I was 14 years old. She said "that's it, that's the law".' 

Mr McLennan said he has been going about his business on his farm and in town with the tiny knife in his pocket for decades.

The blade, which barely measures more than an inch, is used for common jobs around the property and is a necessary part of every farmer's toolbelt.   

'Well if I got to go and put a bale of hay out, I use it to cut the string and then open a bag of horse feed, use it to open the top,' he said.

Cowboy was out in Chinchilla last month having a few beers at the pub with friends before he got some takeaways and headed back to his car.

Police stopped him before he even got in the car and said they were going to breathalyse him, where he blew over the legal limit.

The 75-year-old blew under the legal limit on his second attempt, but police still didn't let him go.  

Cowboy was charged with Section 51 of Queensland's Weapon Act, which says a person mustn't possess a knife in a public place or school unless they have a reasonable excuse.

The farmer said he 'wouldn't have had one on me if I'd known I wasn't allowed to wear one' and was shocked at the decision of the policewoman.

Mr McLennan faced local court where a magistrate fined him $100 and allowed him to leave without conviction.

He says no one around town could believe his story.  'That's why people keep ringing me and talking to me about it, they didn't know whether it was true or false,' he said.

Other bushmen around town have supported the 75-year-old, saying it was common place to innocently carry a small pocketknife. 'Oh it's ridiculous, every second guy here that walks into the pub here on a Friday night, has a pocket knife on their belt,' fellow Chinchilla local Tom Latimore said.