Police Brutality at the Sydney GLBT Mardi Gras - Dum dum-dum dum-dumb.
When an officer of the law slams a handcuffed teenager’s head into the ground from standing position, I think that anyway you ham it up, you have to admit that such an instance is what we’d want to call ‘excessive force’. I know, I’m talking about something that was plastered all over the news already, most of us have forgotten about it now. Mass media coverage tends to do that to me too. Just bear with me. Assistant Commisioner Mark ‘spectacles’ Murdoch says that we shouldn’t take the instance out of context, after all the kid threatened to kick someone in the shins. Then he kicked the police in the shins or at least tried to, according to early reports. Good lord. AC Murdoch does have a point though, to some extent - it is worth knowing why the officer involved saw it fit to use excessive force. Perhaps he felt that this lone teenager was going to turn the post Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras crowd into a hate riot, and what better way to stop such a thing happening than to slam a kid’s head into the ground so hard that it leaves a puddle of blood. This isn’t a gay thing. Even if it was (ie the officer involved was ‘culturally insensitive’ in regards to the sentiments of such an event) it can’t be now. To say that it’s about being homosexual precludes the possibility of such an occurrence happening to someone who is not homosexual. Police brutality, as we know, is not that way inclined in terms of its discriminations (these days). It’s not just a police thing either - there was no doubt a huge police presence at the event and I’m sure that the majority handled themselves in a professional, sensitive, and dare I say even enthusiastic manner (although let’s not forget that this was not the only incident of police brutality reported on the evening in question). This is about officer 266 and Jamie Jackson, a skinny drunk teenager who may or may not have been acting like a dick.
Let’s take the sympathetic route. At best, the officer who did the deed lost his head in the heat of the moment and made a mistake (very inconveniently videotaped by a good samaritan who continues to do so even after being repeatedly told to stop filming … just because). While this is deeply disappointing, we might say fair enough, after all everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are forgivable when acknowledged by the responsible parties involved and formal apologies/restitutions are made. We would hope for communication between aggravated parties and ultimately the chance for some kind of reconciliation. Instead it seems we’ll get numerous investigations undertaken both within the police force as well as from independent parties (police have called for investigation from the NSW ombudsman, although the Greens and Sydney City council have called for further investigations to be made). While investigations should indeed be made, one gets that frustrated nihilistic feeling in the gut - and we watch on as the official parties cover their arses. In terms of the media coverage the event received, the police are forced to deny culpability. This is an election year, which isn’t to say that it will definitely be covered up, only that the pressures on government bodies are convoluted to a greater degree than your average year. Now that the kid is charged with assault and resisting arrest, one wonders if anyone will step forward to corroborate the initial charges of ‘shin-kicking’. Somehow I bet no one saw it. If I’m wrong then the kid should be charged for his misdemeanours - he’s old enough to know better too. Either way it doesn’t change the fact that the officer who slammed his head into the ground has also transgressed the law. As it is this man’s job to uphold the law, it seems imperative that he be charged appropriately for such a raw transgression. Let’s hold AC Murdoch to his word to take this matter seriously, and hope there can be some sense made of this extremely stupid incident.