An Indigenous radio presenter has told NITV News of his “frightening experience” with Queensland Police after he was detained for a 15-year-old warrant which a judge told him was a “glitch” in the police system.
Torres Strait Islander, Bernard Namok Jnr, last week made a post to his Facebook page that said he was in Cairns in early August to conduct interviews for his radio documentary when he was arrested for "no reason".
“I got picked up by the Police and put in the watch house for 3 long hours while I waited for the Judge,” Mr Namok said in his post.
Speaking exclusively to NITV News, Mr Namok said he was sitting in the passenger seat of his friend’s car when the police pulled them over for "driving too fast around a roundabout."
During the stop, he said he was confused because his “non-Indigenous” friend who was driving wasn’t asked to identify himself.
“I was just sitting there in the passenger seat and they asked me to provide a random identification check...thats the thing i don’t get," he said.
“It shocked me because i was just a normal person sitting there in the vehicle - I didn’t own the vehicle, I didn’t drive the vehicle - i was just a passenger in the vehicle.”
Mr Namok says when they got to the station, the officer who arrested him was making jokes about him being arrested.
“They said, ‘now’s your chance to run'. I said, 'why would I run?' For him to make that kind of remark - he said it was a joke, but to me, in that situation, nothing was a joke."
Mr Namok said the last time he was in trouble with the police was 15-years-ago after he was caught driving an unregistered vehicle on TI [Torres Strait island], an offence he said he was sentenced to community service for, and which he recalled completing.
Mr Namok said he only decided to speak about it now because the ordeal has left him "traumatised."
In his post to social media, he said he had been experiencing random anxiety attacks since the experience, particularly whenever he encountered a passing police vehicle.
"I have been off-whack, forget days, even forgot a job that I had to do for the ABC because that experience was still fresh (on his mind).
" I felt ashamed to talk about it," his post read.
Last week, NITV News contacted the Queensland Police Service for comment but did not receive a response before deadline on Monday.