On the occassion that marked the 35th anniversary of the gay community rising up against the police force and taking a stand for gay rights, Mardi Gras parade attendees have been dealt with by some officers from Fairfield LAC (brought into the area to assist the local command with the event) in what appears to be a very heavy handed way.
A youtube video has been posted of the incident, filmed by a member of the media covering the parade.
I was a press photographer for the parade, walking along the backstreets shortly after it had concluded between 11pm and 11:30pm, we heard a man screaming for repeatedly for help.
Walking over we saw him being restrained by two police officers with another 4 in close proximity, he was repeatedly asking them "What have I done wrong?" which they would not respond, all they would say was "you are under arrest".
He calling for people walking past to help him and with a large crowd of people began to surround the event.
He was struggling and resisting but not aggressively.
The officers told him to stop resisting to which he would reply "why are you doing this I haven't done anything?."
The officer "FAIRFIELD LAC 266" then grabbed him by the back of the neck and slammed his head into the stone pavement, as he tried to get up he was then punched multiple times in the head, leaving blood all over the pavement. The crowd of people overlooking screaming at the officer to stop.
After seeing that I began filming.
What I found most shocking about this event is that the other officers seem to be aware that the amount of force they are using was completely unmerited and excessive.
So they hastily try to force me to stop filming.
As a press photographer I knew I was completely within my rights to film police officers in a public space, doing nothing wrong and breaking no laws, so I refused.
You will notice I ask multiple times why I am not allowed to film and what laws am I breaking and receive no response.
There were at least 6 officers in the immediate vicinity, the victim was only small and could have easily been restrained by the officers without injury.
Instead they choice to force him into submission by repeatedly punching him and throwing him into the pavement.
You'll also hear him asking over and over what he has done wrong to which he doesn't get a response."
Late Tuesday evening, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) received and viewed footage involving NSW Police arresting a spectator with excessive force at the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade on the weekend. This incident is quite distressing and our thoughts are with the individual, his family, friends and those that witnessed this. The Board and management of SGLMG assure the community and parade viewers that we have requested a meeting tomorrow with the Minister of Police and that we are working with the state Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich, MP Sydney, to have this incident investigated and addressed.
Update: 7th March 2013
If you experienced or witnessed an instance of police using excessive force during the Mardi Gras period, it is really important that you report it - either to ACON's Anti-Violence Project, or to Inner City Legal Centre. ACON and ICLC have both given assurances that anyone who does make a report will be offered the full support of both organisations. We need this information on the record so we can advocate more effectively for improved security measures for members of our community.