Cops slam woman’s head on car during arrest

 

CONCERNSare mounting about the conduct of NSW Highway Patrol officers after shocking incidents involving excessive force on motorists. WATCH THE FOOTAGE

The state's police watchdog, The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) has released findings into two cases involving alleged excessive force by highway patrol officers - one where an officer pointed a gun at a motorist stopped for an RBT and another where a woman's head was beat against her car.

A further two officers were separately found by the LECC to have exposed an intoxicated civilian to risk of serious injury after first arresting him and then dumping him on the side of a road in Chullora, in Sydney's south-west, last year.

A NSW Highway patrol officer is caught on camera assaulting a motorist by slamming her head against a car. Picture: Supplied
A NSW Highway patrol officer is caught on camera assaulting a motorist by slamming her head against a car. Picture: Supplied

In the wake of the LECC findings, politicians and civil libertarians have called for radical changes to the way police investigate themselves.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said police internal investigations are riddled with conflicts of interest.

"When police investigate police, often the first casualty is the truth," said Mr Shoebridge.

Mr Shoebridge said the LECC findings show an unsatisfactory situation in which close work colleagues and perhaps friends end up investigating each other.

Terry O'Gorman the head of the Civil Liberties Council of Australia said police investigating each other has to stop.

"It has no credibility and these cases underline that," said Mr O'Gorman.

Politicians and civil libertarians have called for radical changes to the way police investigate themselves. Picture: Supplied
Politicians and civil libertarians have called for radical changes to the way police investigate themselves. Picture: Supplied

He said the LECC should follow the examples set in Victoria with the watchdog investigating a number of similar issues to establish whether there is a systemic issue.

A police spokesman said the "NSW Police Force acknowledges the recent reports published by the LECC and will consider all recommendations. A formal response will be provided to the LECC in due course."

The NSW highway patrol cop, caught on camera drawing his gun and pointing it at the face of a man pulled over for a random breath test in 2015, led to complaints to the LECC findings that the officer had included unnecessary use of firearm.

The NSW Highway Patrol officer was caught on camera slamming the head of a female motorist into her car while he was arresting her. Picture: Supplied
The NSW Highway Patrol officer was caught on camera slamming the head of a female motorist into her car while he was arresting her. Picture: Supplied

It was also submitted that the officer, who kneed the driver in the back and punched him in the neck, had displayed an unnecessary use of force; use of force when handcuffing the motorist; untruthful evidence about the arrest; and a failure to make an entry in the COPS system about his use of force.

Yet despite video evidence of the incident, all complaints except one investigated by his own command were found "Not Sustained" - sparking an investigation by the police watchdog.

The officer was counselled and given training for not following procedures and making an entry in the COPS system.

Extraordinary video shows a NSW highway patrol officer threatening a motorist a gun and pointing the firearm at his face during a random breath test stop. Picture: Supplied
Extraordinary video shows a NSW highway patrol officer threatening a motorist a gun and pointing the firearm at his face during a random breath test stop. Picture: Supplied

The LECC has recommend a new investigation.

The second incident shows a Highway Patrol officer slamming the head of a female motorist into her car while he was arresting her.

A complaint of unreasonable force and unnecessary use of arrest powers over the incident - also referred to the NW Highway Patrol for investigation - was also found "Not Sustained".

But investigations by the LECC have found the officer arresting the woman did engage in "serious misconduct and used excessive force against the motorist" and the officer who conducted the investigation into his colleague "engaged in serious misconduct".

The watchdog has recommended consideration be given to the taking of action against both officers.

The LECC report said it has identified wider issues in the way allegations of misconduct within the HWP Command are investigated and recommended changes.