AN INVESTIGATION should be launched into the state’s police riot squad after a violent arrest was filmed on a Sydney street, according to the top lawyer representing two brothers charged over the incident.
David and Peter Bunker were making their way home after a night out when they happened upon a crime scene in Oxford Street.
Within seconds, they were part of their own alleged crime scene.
CCTV footage from a nearby nightclub appears to show one of the brothers being repeatedly kicked and kneed by members of the Operational Support Group while a group of other officers pin him to the concrete.
”When you look at this footage, it is deeply concerning that it could be suggested that grave issues of law and order have been abused,” said barrister Winston Terracini, SC, having been instructed by solicitor Nick Boyden. ”We will raise these issues in any tribunal if the police conduct is to be denied.”
Police tape had been strung across Oxford Street and the footpath after a uniformed officer was run over. Constable Sarah Maxwell, 27, suffered serious head injuries when hit by a vehicle during a routine licensing operation on Monday, October 5. She had run across the road to break up a fight about 2.40am.
But it was another melee about 20 minutes later – involving David Bunker and about six police – that is the subject of a court case that will thrust the actions of the black-clad officers from the Operational Support Group into the limelight.
Police statements tendered in court allege David Bunker assaulted a policewoman after crossing beneath the blue-and-white crime-scene tape that she was guarding.
Both brothers have been charged with assault and resisting arrest. Contesting the charges, they and their legal representatives claim police were not only brutal but wrong to take them into custody.
The brothers claim they were trying to get back to their apartment in nearby Brisbane Street.
What the police involved did not realise was that the whole sequence of events was caught on film.
Stills from that CCTV footage – shot by a camera outside a licensed premises – are displayed above (with the whole sequence of events able to be watched on smh.com.au).
The case is due to be heard in the Downing Centre next month.
Mr Boyden, a solicitor from the Australian Criminal Law Specialists, said the footage would prove embarrassing to the force: ”At least 10 officers were involved in the arrest of my clients. Police are supposed to protect the community … the behaviour of some of these officers needs to be explained. Police have alleged in statements that my client disobeyed a direction to move on and that he lifted up the tape and stepped through striking a policewoman but we claim the video images show it was the other way around.”
The alleged assault occurred in the same street police twice fired a Taser at a 28-year-old man in March 2009. The man involved in the Taser incident – also caught on CCTV – is being represented in civil action against the police by the same law firm.