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Claims of police brutality at Sydney gay Mardi Gras prompts internal investigation

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Police in Sydney, Australia have launched an internal investigation into the treatment of a young man at the city’s famed gay Mardi Gras on Saturday after witnesses captured footage of him being violently thrown to the ground.

Jamie Jackson, 18, was handcuffed and thrown to the ground by a policeman on Mardi Gras night after alledgedly swearing at officers.

The assistant commissioner, Mark Murdoch, said the initial charge against Jackson, was “offensive language.”

Onlookers in the video can be heard protesting and alleging that Jackson had been handled violently before witnesses started recording the incident with their cell phones.

“We just saw you whack his head against the ground,” a woman can be heard to say. “His blood is on the ground”.


Jackson’s father said that he was “shaken” by the footage which showed his son being “thrown around like a rag doll,” reported The Guardian.

Peter Urmson, co-chair of the Mardi Gras, said the footage was “disgusting” and welcomed the investigation.

“Mardi Gras was born out of police brutality 35 years ago and it’s ironic that that night was celebration how far we’ve come as a community working together with other parts of the community. I now kind of wonder, how far have we really come?” Urmson said.

Several other men came forward Tuesday to complain of excessive force by police during Mardi Gras, including former Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) co-convenor Bryn Hutchison, who alleges he was assaulted by police when trying to cross the road following the parade, reported the Star-Observer.

Another man alleged he was assaulted by plain clothes police officers outside an afterparty when he popped chewing gum in his mouth.

He said he was slammed against a wall and choked around the neck for almost a minute while being ordered to ‘spit it out’ before being let go and handcuffed. He said police has suspected him of consuming drugs.

He alleges that he was strip-searched in a police van and that officers suggested taking him to hospital to have his stomach pumped.

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13 more reader comments:

  1. Thoroughly disgusting treatment by a few Sydney Police. The young man was all ready in custody and handcuffed. THere was no reason for the treatment by Fairfield Lac. Grabbing a handcuffed person by the throat, shoving him down head first into the pavement is against all reasonable force. His initial reason for arrest was language??? Are you kidding me? Handcuffed, beaten abused by not only 1 officer but up to 4-6 officers were at least partially involved. Officer Lac should be fired, and the rest handed down severe punishments and proper training… This was not the only case of police abuse in that neighborhood that evening. Normally Sydney Police are exceptional, especially during the Mardis Gras.. but this is plain and simple an abuse of power by neruotic out of ocntrol policeman.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:23pm
  2. WOWWW still not going to change……….

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:26pm
  3. This was awful to see…

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:28pm
  4. I work for a police station and this makes me sick. At least I know that not all cops r like this. Shame on u

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:36pm
  5. appallling!!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:44pm
  6. I hope the boy is cleared of any wrongdoing as it sounds like the cops were using very excessive force!! Not all cops are like this…. but the bigoted ones in Australia have a long history of abuse!! Almost sounds like America!!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 9:51pm
  7. -> Actually, the police should protect these events and the participants against violent homophobic attacks! Even with the Australian police are homophobic, violent, uneducated, unenlightened idiots. -> The Australian Police Minister must investigate these cases and such violent, homophobic police officers need to be suspended and punished! What the police did with the young man? Wanted him to train slaves and beat to death? Shared into our groups
    -> Eigentlich sollte die Polizei diese Veranstaltungen und die Teilnehmer schützen gegenüber gewalttätigen, homophoben Angriffen! Auch bei der australischen Polizei gibt es homophobe, gewalttätige, ungebildete, unaufgeklärte Idioten. Der australische Polizeiminister muss diese Fälle aufklären und solche gewalttätigen, homophoben Polizisten müssen vom Dienst suspendiert und bestraft werden! Was wollten die Polizisten mit dem jungen Mann? Wollten die ihn zum Sklaven abrichten und zu Tode prügeln? Geteilt in unsere Gruppen

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10:00pm
  8. For using foul language, cops need to grow a fucking thicker skin, I hope they all get fired

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10:00pm
  9. awful….

    Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10:12pm
  10. This is just sad

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:20pm
  11. Good. I couldn’t even watch the whole video.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:28pm
  12. This year was my first Mardi gras and its sad that after an amazing weekend in Sydney that this is the publicity that Mardi Gras is getting.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:46pm
  13. And this is why i dont trust cops

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:49pm