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Police Brutalize Aboriginal Teenagers in Sydney

Police Brutalize Aboriginal Teenagers in Sydney

Police in Sydney, Australia, are under fire after shooting two Aboriginal teenagers over the weekend. Both were among six people who were riding in a stolen car in Sydney’s Kings Cross area. At 4am, the car hit a 29-year-old woman; police said they had “no choice but to shoot at the car” because they feared she was going to die. But a video taken on a mobile phone shows police punching an unarmed passenger who was pinned to the ground before dragging him, bleeding, and handcuffing him.

As of Tuesday, the Telegraph says the 14-year-old driver and a 17-year-old front-seat passenger are both still hospitalized in serious condition. The back-seat passengers, aged 24, 13, 14 and 16 have been arrested and charged with driving in a stolen car. The 14-year-old, who is now in a coma, has reportedly been in trouble with police since he was 8 years old, says the Daily Telegraph.

The police will be carrying out their own investigation and have been concerned the incident could stoke racial tensions, says the Telegraph, as such have “occasionally spilt into riots in the impoverished inner-city suburb of Redfern,” where a large Aboriginal community lives. Mike Gallacher, the Police Minister of New South Wales, is supporting the officer who alleged shot the 17-year-old. On ABC News/The World Today, an MP from Sydney, Michael Turnbull, described the Kings Cross area as “effectively a war zone” and called for more licensing restrictions.

As reporter Adam Harvey points out, while Bureau of Crime Statistics figures show an average of 271 assaults over the past ten years in the Kings Cross area, the average has dropped to 235 and “the year to last July was the quietest in a decade, with 220 assaults.”

Outraged at the brutality displayed on the video, the Aboriginal community protested on Tuesday outside the New South Wales Parliament and called for an independent inquiry. Boxer Anthony Mundine, who is Aboriginal, joined indigenous leaders and families of the accusd teenagers at the protest. He had visited the 17-year-old who was shot in the neck in the hospital and told the Sydney Morning Herald that

“They are going to leave the bullet lodged in his neck. He won’t be able to walk properly, he might have to have a brace on for the rest of his life. Just imagine the trauma he is going to go through.”

Mundine says he thinks the police officer who shot the teenager should be investigated for attempted murder.

An elder in Redfern, Mick Mundine, tells the Daily Telegraph that he fears that “people seeking justice for the teenagers would incite violence.” He also emphasized that the police must carry out their investigation and that “we need to do this the right way, for the sake of those two boys.”

 

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33 comments

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10:41AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

what else is new?

11:23AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

the kids didn't deserve to be beaten, but they WERE in the wrong BIG time. Both the officers and the kids deserve punishment

9:35PM PDT on May 4, 2012

To Jane L. The youngsters in the stolen vehicle certainly were victims of "the system". Only one of the six was an adult and he was paralytically intoxicated. However, think about the following stats. Ninety per cernt (90%) of Aboriginal young offenders have parents or other relatives with a history of incarceration. Only 36% were living with both their parents, 24% had a history of out of home care; 11% in unsettled accommodation; 21% lived with a person with a physical or mental disability and 42%of young offenders functioned in the borderline range of intellectual ability or lower. Most had left school without achieving a minimal education and 90% had been suspended from school, etc. etc.Society including families, schools, communities, the justice system have failed them.

As I have said, while Aboriginal people make up 2% of the population, they make up over 25% of those incarcerated or within the criminal justice system. They also have higher rates of arrest and deaths in custody.

As a postscript for what it's worth, the police investigation is being over sighted by the Public Ombudsman and the Police Integrity Commission.

The original white settlers were in fact chosen by the "best judges" in Britain and came here as felons. Waves of immigration over the last two and a bit centuries mean that the Anglo-Celtic population is much in the minority. Think also of the White Australia Policy which tried to keep any non-white out. Early Chinese settlers also suffered

9:35PM PDT on May 4, 2012

To Jane L. The youngsters in the stolen vehicle certainly were victims of "the system". Only one of the six was an adult and he was paralytically intoxicated. However, think about the following stats. Ninety per cernt (90%) of Aboriginal young offenders have parents or other relatives with a history of incarceration. Only 36% were living with both their parents, 24% had a history of out of home care; 11% in unsettled accommodation; 21% lived with a person with a physical or mental disability and 42%of young offenders functioned in the borderline range of intellectual ability or lower. Most had left school without achieving a minimal education and 90% had been suspended from school, etc. etc.Society including families, schools, communities, the justice system have failed them.

As I have said, while Aboriginal people make up 2% of the population, they make up over 25% of those incarcerated or within the criminal justice system. They also have higher rates of arrest and deaths in custody.

As a postscript for what it's worth, the police investigation is being over sighted by the Public Ombudsman and the Police Integrity Commission.

The original white settlers were in fact chosen by the "best judges" in Britain and came here as felons. Waves of immigration over the last two and a bit centuries mean that the Anglo-Celtic population is much in the minority. Think also of the White Australia Policy which tried to keep any non-white out. Early Chinese settlers also suffered

11:24AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

sorry, I meant to say I'm NOT trying to excuse the teenagers...

11:22AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

let me get this straight: so the police are going to investigate THEMSELVES regarding a situation for which they are guilty of shooting down teenagers (for stealing a car)??? I'm not sure that's going to yield an accurate portrayal of what happened.

At the same time, I'm trying to excuse the teenagers for their behaviour, but aboriginals have had a long history of racisim against them. Take this from a Canadian-born and raised who's learnt their history. Their long history of repressive treatment has resulted in these stereotypical behaviours of "acting out" in society. They need help to restore their sense of self and not be shot to near death.

1:37AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

While never condoning the appalling treatment of Aboriginal people in Australia, I would hope that Ms. Chew and some of the commentators below would please give a few of the facts before inflaming what is an already tense and sensitive situation.
Specifically, the incident took place at 4 am on a Friday night with six young Aboriginal males (the youngest 13 and the oldest 24 - the only adult in the vehicle and having consumed some 20 drinks) joy riding in a stolen car some considerable distance from their homes. For whatever reason the driver aged 14,(and not in a coma) mounted the footpath and hit two female pedestrians, one of whom was pinned under the vehicle and dragged 10 metres. Two police officers having identified the occupants of the vehicle and chasing from behind on foot discharged their firearms. While some have said they should have shot out the tyres, police are specially trained not to as such actions do not stop speeding vehicles and the danger of ricocheting bullets is high. What happened thereafter has been the subject of much controversy and investigations are continuing. What might be pointed out is that the fear and panic of bystanders was not caught on camera.
The incident has raised all sorts of questions including parental responsibility and control, social disadvantage and of course the one of racial tensions. Yes, the boys had been in trouble with the law before and whatever the outcome of those previous incidents were, they obviously didn't have

3:47PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

It's really disgraceful how the white population in Australia treats the native Aborigines with contempt and prejudice. They do realize they are descendants of exiled British penal colonies, don't they?

1:14AM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

Thanks for the article.

11:10PM PDT on Apr 26, 2012

Racist They do not consider them human being disgraceful

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