The Guardian published CCTV vision on Tuesday of an incident that occurred in Western Australia in 2018 involving police slamming a handcuffed Indigenous teen to the ground one day before the commencement of NAIDOC Week.
The incident occurred outside of a Perth train station and shows five WA Police officers surrounding the handcuffed and seated boy before one of them grabs him and slams him onto the pavement.
The officer who took the teen down then remains on top of him for a sustained period of time before another officer assists with restraining his legs. Both officers then remain on top of him for around five minutes.
A spokesperson for WA Police said the youth was not injured during the arrest and he did not file a complaint against the offices for their conduct.
Human Rights lawyer, Hannah McGlade told NITV News on Tuesday she believed officers did use unnecessary force.
“This is a matter of race discrimination. We've long had a history of heavy-handed policing against Aboriginal people, Aboriginal youth and racial profiling, which is a form of race discrimination prohibited by the International Convention on race discrimination that Australia is a signatory to,” Ms McGlade said.
“I think when we say police using an unnecessary level of violence against young Aboriginal people, in this case, the young man was actually handcuffed at the time he was assaulted in this manner I believe, then I think real issue racism in policing,” she said.
The incident occurred one day before the start of NAIDOC Week and just five days before the Western Australia Police Commissioner publicly apologised to the state’s Aboriginal community for WA Police’s role in the trauma endured by Indigenous Australian.
The CCTV vision also captured the moment Tanya De Souza-Meally, a witness who tried to help the boy, was arrested and charged with obstructing police and refusing to provide identification.
The vision revealed the statements submitted by the officers who arrested Ms De Souza-Meally did not match the CCTV vision.
WA police later dropped the charges against Ms De Souza-Meally and agreed to open an internal investigation into the use of force against the boy.