• Screen grabs from the video posted on Facebook earlier this week. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
The National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum has criticised the Queensland Police Service for failing to conduct a public, independent investigation after an incident where a police officer used ‘excessive force’ against an Aboriginal woman in what the police claim was a domestic violence case.
By
Andrea Booth

Source:
NITV News
21 Jan 2016 - 4:06 PM  UPDATED 22 Jan 2016 - 6:38 PM

"With an incident such as this, a system in which police investigate police is flawed," Antoinette Braybrook, the CEO of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum, told NITV News on Friday.

"A fully independent investigation is necessary. It will also demonstrate the Queensland Police Service's commitment to transparency."

Ms Braybrook’s response on behalf of 17 rights organisations comes after the Queensland Police Service issued a statement Thursday prompted by an open letter.

They expressed concern over a video that showed a male police officer "repeatedly shoving [a mother] as she attempted to get closer to her teenage son" in Brisbane, and how this may affect "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victim/survivors to report family violence to the police in the future". 

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The mother of a 16-year-old boy whose arrest was captured on video over the weekend, has told NITV News that she was shocked by the force used against her family by Queensland Police officers.

The Queensland police said, "the actions of an officer involved…on Saturday are the subject of an internal independent review to be overviewed by the Ethical Standards Command.

The Queensland Police Service is continuing to review the original footage as well as body worn video obtained from officers involved in the incident.

The footage will be subject to additional review by a specialist operational skills and tactics instructor.

This overview will further focus on the legislative and procedural compliance of the use of force exercised by officers, including compliance with service training.”

Frank Hytten, the CEO of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, told NITV News on Friday that while time should be allowed for the investigation to take its due course, "the police are there to serve and be accountable to the public".

“What recourse do the public have…if the investigation finds no case for the police to answer.” 

"The problem is that police behaviour seems not to change and these interactions keep on keeping on."

'There was no domestic violence' 

"We're not violent people, we were just sitting here minding our own business in my own home where I thought we would be safe, but obviously I was wrong," the mother told NITV News. 

"I don't allow violence on women, I have four sons and they know I'm against violence. I have raised them that way myself."

Ms Braybrook says if the reports are correct, "it is particularly worrying if police entered the property in response to a domestic violence incident only to behave violently towards the presumed victim". 

Amnesty International, another signatory to the open letter, says, "it is shocking to see this kind of police behaviour, especially given Queensland’s recent strong stand on violence against women with a new domestic violence bill."

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Amnesty International 'shocked' at the use of police force on a mother when they entered her house in Brisbane to arrest her son.

Call for better policing

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care's Frank Hytten wants preventive measures to avoid incidents such as this from happening again.

"Perhaps police training should be focused more on asking, problem solving and referring, and less on being in control - assertiveness rather than aggression - and managing their own emotions better," he said.

Ms Braybrook says there is an urgent need for a cultural shift across all police forces, "including embedding respect for women into all areas of police work."

The open letter is supported by the following organisations

Amnesty International
ANTaR
Australian Council of Social Service
Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses
Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People Andrew Jackomos
First Peoples Disability Network Australia
Human Rights Law Centre
Menzies School of Health Research
National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
National Association of Community Legal Centres
National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum
Oxfam Australia
Queensland Association of Independent Legal Service Inc
Save the Children
Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care
Sisters Inside
Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod
Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

with Jodan Perry