One of the men allegedly involved in a recent Kings Cross brawl during which six people were arrested says he will fight the charges against him and take legal action against NSW Police, whose tactics left him on crutches and unable to work.
Nari Rossi-Murray was one of those arrested, although he is not the only one who believes police acted with ‘overwhelming force’.
Police were patrolling the area, which, until the government’s ‘lock out laws’ came into effect, was notorious for drunken behaviour, when a fight broke out.
Officers initially used capsicum spray to subdue the altercation, but bystanders who captured the incident on their mobile phones say police then began assaulting those involved.
Witnesses captured Mr Murray being kneed to the head at least three times just after saying “I haven’t done nothing”. Murray says he will be using mobile phone video, photos and CCTV footage as evidence to defend charges brought against him, and to support his case against police.
He says while he understands and respects that police have a job to do, their actions were ‘extreme’ in this instance.
The incident has bought the issue of police brutality into the spotlight once again, particularly the question of reasonable force when it comes to making an arrest.
There are laws and guidelines police must follow when making an arrest; for example, section 231 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 says:
“A police officer or other person who exercises a power to arrest another person may use such force as is reasonably necessary to make the arrest or to prevent the escape of the person after arrest.”
The use of excessive force constitutes assault, whether exercised by police officers or anyone else. Heavy-handed tactics can also cause an incident to escalate, causing those being man-handled to use self-defensive actions in an attempt to repel the attack.
All six of those involved were arrested and taken to Kings Cross police station, where they were charged with various offences including resisting arrest, assaulting police, offensive language, offensive conduct and hindering police.
Action Against Police
Anyone who believes they have been wrongfully arrested, mistreated or assaulted by police can lodge a formal complaint through the Customer Assistance Office, providing as much information as possible.
However, police are notorious for clearing their own of misconduct during internal ‘investigations’. Another option is to make a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman, however, he receives in excess of 3,000 complaints against police every year and is powerless to discipline, let alone prosecute police officers.
This leaves the option of civil proceedings against police, which can be expensive and time-consuming; but those who have exhausted all other avenues may feel this is their only viable option.
Mr Murray and his alleged co-offenders are due to appear in Downing Centre Court on May 31.