Footage of Sydney police officers assaulting a 16-year-old Aboriginal boy on Monday has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media, provoking widespread anger and prompting comparisons with the brutal actions of the US police over the past week.
The unprovoked attack took place just hours after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared on national radio that explosive US demonstrations against the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis had little relevance to conditions in Australia.
Morrison stated there was “no need to import” the mass protests against police violence unfolding across America.
The footage was taken after a group of youths were stopped by four police officers in the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills. Reports indicate that the boys were being questioned only because they were spending time together in a public park, a common occurrence for Aboriginal youth.
When the video began, one of the boys was sitting on the ground, seemingly detained by the police. His friends objected to their treatment, with one apparently referencing the situation in the US. Sharp words were exchanged.
A male officer then marched over to another of the youths and placed his hands behind his back, as if to make an arrest. The youth did not resist. Without warning, the officer kicked the boy’s feet out from under him. The 16-year-old was slammed onto the concrete, without any way of bracing the impact.
He was then held to the ground, with one officer pinning his legs down with her knee. The boy screamed out in obvious distress and pain. The 16-year-old was released from police custody without being charged.