• Karla Grant, the host of Indigenous current affairs program Living Black. (SBS)Source: SBS
The host of the Indigenous current affairs program Living Black says she was racially targeted at a liquor store by a police officer.
Greg Dunlop

13 Sep 2019 - 4:54 PM  UPDATED 13 Sep 2019 - 4:58 PM

TV journalist Karla Grant says she was harassed by a Northern Territory police officer for buying a single bottle of wine in Alice Springs.

The NT government spends millions of dollars each year to have inspectors patrol take-away liquor stores as part of a range of measures intended to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.

Part of their job is to determine if customers plan to drink alcohol in an area where it is banned, such as town camps and remote communities.

The system has been criticised for discriminating against Aboriginal customers.

Ms Grant, the host of Living Black who was in Central Australia to film a documentary, said she was racially targeted by a police auxiliary stationed inside the bottle shop.

After a day of shooting earlier this week, she went to buy a bottle of wine to share with colleagues over dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Ms Grant said her identification was checked by the inspector, scanned at the counter and that she was questioned about the hotel she was staying.

“The police officer basically harassed me as soon as I walked into the liquor store,” she told NITV News.

“I was stunned at the time because that’s never happened to me before.”

One of her colleagues, a non-Indigenous TV producer, was not asked to show ID when he entered the store and bought two bottles of beer at the same time.

The female police officer also warned Ms Grant multiple times about taking alcohol to a restricted area.

“I said ‘yes, I’m well aware of this, but I’m not taking any alcohol anywhere, I’m just taking it around the corner to a restaurant where we’re having dinner’,” she said.

“Do I look like a grog runner? I don’t think so.”

“I just feel it was totally out of line. She didn’t even believe that I was staying at a hotel and wanted proof of where I was staying.”

Ms Grant said that it was an extreme reaction considering that she was buying only one bottle of wine.

“She was very pushy and very abrupt with me and very stern. She was harassing me.”

The TV host said she was stunned by the experience.

“It’s racism,” Ms Grant said.

“I just felt like it’s a breach of my human rights.”