Politics

A Police Officer Has Been Stood Down Over Footage Of A Police Car Hitting An Indigenous Man

"This kind of brutality by the WA police is not warranted."

A Western Australian police officer has been stood down pending investigation after shocking footage emerged yesterday of an unmarked police car swerving across the road to knock down an 18-year-old Indigenous man. Community and family say the officer’s suspension isn’t enough and are calling for an independent investigation into police conduct.

The footage, captured by bystanders from multiple angles, shows the unmarked police car crossing the road and colliding with 18-year-old William Farmer with enough force to throw him onto the footpath nearby. The teen can be seen convulsing on the ground following the impact, and was taken to hospital for CT scans.

You can see video of the of the incident below, but fair warning, it’s pretty disturbing:

While police are now investigating, shocked community members are calling for stronger action to be taken. Mervyn Eades, managing director at Ngalla Maya: Aboriginal Employment Access, was the one who posted the shocking bystander footage on Facebook, and said it spoke to a broader problem of WA Police treatment of Indigenous youth.

“This kind of brutality by the WA police is not warranted and this is why so many of our First Nations People die in custody when the police are using such excessive and brutal force to apprehend them.”

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert is calling for an independent investigation of the incident, similarly saying “I believe this is indicative of a broader problem within the WA police in regards to some officers’ attitude and treatment of our First Peoples and should be taken very seriously.”

The National Justice Project’s principal solicitor George Newhouse, who is acting for Farmer, made similar comments to Channel 10 News two days ago.

“In this case the young man has not been charged with any offence whatsoever. To hit him with a car does not comply with any police code of conduct,” he said, noting that it’s not the first time police have used extreme force against Indigenous youth — one of the most prominent examples being the death of 22-year-old Indigenous woman Ms Dhu in WA Police custody in 2014.

“It seems to be a consistent theme that the WA Police abuse their power when it comes to Aboriginal people,” Newhouse concluded.

WA Police did not respond to Junkee’s request for comment, and have declined to comment to other outlets due to the internal investigation in progress.