Brutal arrest in Sydney draws parallel with US racial divide

A video of a brutal arrest of an Aboriginal teenager slammed into the ground by a NSW police officer has drawn attention to uncomfortable parallels between unequal treatment of black people in the USA and Australia.

Roughly 3 per cent of Australia’s population identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But they form 28 per cent of the prison population.

The ABC reports: “NSW Police is investigating one of its own officers, who was filmed kicking and pinning an Indigenous teenager to the ground during an arrest in inner-Sydney yesterday.”

The young Aboriginal male is shown in a video abusing the police officer who the kicks the boy’s feet from under him, and he slams into the ground, face first.

The constable involved has been moved to restricted duties while an investigation takes place.

The young man, who is under age and can’t be identified, was one of a group of youths in inner-city Surry Hills videoed talking to three police officers.

After being treated in hospital, the young man has gone home to his family.

Meanwhile, the seventh night of protests over the death of George Floyd continues in the United States.

Christianity has been played into the controversy as President Donald Trump visited St John’s Church near the White House, with smoke canisters and flash grenades used to clear a path through what The New York Times described as a non-violent crowd.  There had been a fire set in the church basement the night before, with a small amount of damage. President Trump stood outside the church holding up a Bible, and announced mobilising forces to control the demonstrations. (Correction – his announcement was before he walked to the Church. According to the national park smoke canisters rather than tear gas was used.)

On the other hand, earlier dialogue between Christians across the racial divide was reported in this Eternity story.

Tonight a protest march is being held in Sydney in solidarity with the US Black Lives Matter protests in memory of George Floyd. Aboriginal flags carried by the protesters draw the link to the deaths in custody in Australia. There have been over 400 deaths in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission, according to Linda Burney, an Aboriginal MP.

The peaceful and orderly marchers plan to kneel down in front of the US embassy – a gesture of support for the US Black Lives Matter movement. The New York Daily News  reports that police in New York are kneeling alongside the protesters as a mark of respect. A instagram stream of protestors and police embracing (as highlighted by the White House) can be viewed here  The riots are only one part of the US story – there’s clearly a mass non-violent protest as well.

 

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