Police brutality is a serious issue around Australia, with cases of vicious and dangerous assaults by members of police forces being regularly captured on smartphones and reported in social and mainstream media.
Just last week, a senior police officer appeared before Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court charged with Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily harm – an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment, or 2 years in the Local Court.
Leading Senior Constable Shaun Moylan from Dee Why police station on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, is alleged to have brutally assaulted a man in police custody in April 2015.
32-year-old Mark Adamski was arrested on Anzac Day for an alleged domestic assault at Narrabeen. He was taken to Dee Why police station, where it is alleged he was assaulted by LSC Moylan in the charge room.
It is alleged the Constable became verbally abusive towards Mr Adamski, then violently pushed him backwards twice, causing him to hit his head on a concrete wall. During the second push, Moylan also grabbed Adamski around the throat.
Mr Adamski suffered injuries to his head and neck as a result of the assault. He repeatedly pleaded with police to call an ambulance, but no medical help was offered. Mr Adamski instead had to catch a bus to Manly Hospital following his release.
CCTV footage played in court captured the incident – and Mr Adamski’s version of events was supported by other police officers who witnessed the attack.
One of the officers, Senior Constable Daniel Gill, testified that Moylan had ‘cupped his hand’ around Adamski’s throat when pushing him the second time. He described the force used by the officer as ‘significant,’ and conceded that Adamski had requested medical attention.
Another officer, Constable Brendon Kitchener, told the court that he was so concerned with the force used that he reported it to other colleagues.
Yet Constable Moylan maintains his innocence, with his lawyer suggesting to Mr Adamski in cross-examination that he ‘downplayed [his] role significantly’ and ‘exaggerated [Moylan’s] role’ – statements which Mr Adamski has strenuously denied.
The hearing has been adjourned to a later date, where Mr Moylan’s fate will ultimately be determined by Local Court Magistrate Susan McIntyre. In the meantime, he has been suspended from duty on full pay.
Mr Adamski, on the other hand, has been found not guilty of all charges brought against him.
Other Police Brutality Cases at Downing Centre Court
The Downing Centre has heard several cases in recent times involving allegations of police brutality and misconduct.
In 2014, Magistrate Michael Barko determined that police had used excessive force in apprehending 18-year-old Jamie Jackson Reed during the annual Mardi Gras parade.
Mr Reed made headlines after video went viral of a Sydney police officer slamming his head into the concrete pavement and stepping on his back.
But it was Mr Reed – rather than the officer behind the brutal attack – who was charged with assault.
In dismissing the charges against Mr Reed and awarding him $40,000 in costs, Magistrate Barko noted that he had been ‘brutalised’ by police.
And, just days ago, another police officer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before the Downing Centre court charged with numerous assaults and stalk/intimidate for incidents involving his now ex-wife.
The officer is alleged to have repeatedly abused and threatened his former partner – a domestic violence liaison officer – over severakl years, telling her that she would not be believed if she reported her concerns to police.
That hearing has been adjourned until May.