A Queensland police officer has been photographed wearing a flag patch that is associated with far-right extremism on his uniform while deployed to a Black Lives Matter protest in Brisbane on Friday, following the death in custody of an Indigenous woman at the city watch house.
In a statement, the Queensland Police Service said it was aware of an officer wearing a patch which was not part of the standard QPS uniform and that they were making enquiries into the matter.
“In certain situations, officers can seek approval to wear a uniform which varies from the standard uniform policy,” said a QPS spokesperson.
However, it is understood that exemptions are rarely made and police are investigating if the officer sought permission.
Eighteen people were arrested at the protest, which was held after a 49-year-old Indigenous woman died in police custody at the Brisbane City Watchhouse on Thursday.
The protesters chanted and waved placards, demanding justice and an end to racist policing.
The police station and its sign outside the front of the station were marked with red painted hand prints, an image that has come to symbolise Aboriginal deaths in custody.
A group of about thirty police officers scuffled with the crowd and made several arrests.
Greens Councillor representing the Gabba Ward, Jonathan Sri attended the protest and posted a Facebook live where he raised his concerns surrounding the incident.
“Those cells are heavily surveilled, 24x7 security cameras, there’s people on the desk all day and all night, the prisoners have their shoes and belts confiscated so they don’t really have anything on them," he said.
“It’s really concerning and troubling that someone would die in police custody and police would argue they’re actually doing it for their safety. People are really angry because this just keeps happening, particularly to Aboriginal People.”
The woman, arrested on Sunday, faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday. She was being held on remand, pending transfer to a correctional centre.
Police from the Ethical Standards Command are investigating the death and are yet to make any details public about the circumstances.