Friday, March 8, 2013
New Video Shows 18-Year-Old Jamie Jackson Involved In Prolonged Struggle Including Kicking Police Officer As He Appears To Resist Arrest Moments Before Being Thrown To Ground
In Australia, new video has emerged of the Mardi Gras reveller at the centre of claims of police brutality lashing out and repeatedly kicking at police as he is arrested near Oxford Street in Sydney on the night of the parade. It comes as more than 2000 people prepare to march through Surry Hills on Friday night to protest against what they say was an excessive use of force by police arresting 18-year-old Jamie Jackson about 10:00 pm on Saturday. Previous footage of Jackson's brush with the law had captured the moments after the arrest when a police officer threw him heavily to the ground in handcuffs, sparking allegations of police brutality. The original video has sparked a police investigation. The teenager appeared on television contending he was arrested for assault after innocently tickling a fellow reveller after the Mardi Gras parade, and claims the police reaction was over the top. However new footage of the moments before he was thrown to the ground, captured by an English television producer and shown on Channel Nine on Thursday night, shows that he was involved in a prolonged struggle with police as they tried to arrest him. As he is held to the ground, Mr Jackson repeatedly attempts to kick one of the officers in the face, while an onlooker yells: "You'll make it worse for yourself. Stop!" The new footage emerged as police said organizers of Friday night's march had not sought formal approval from police to conduct a "lawful protest.” More than 2000 people have indicated on Facebook that they will gather in Taylor Square in Darlinghurst at 6:00 pm and march along Oxford and Pelican streets to the Sydney Police Centre on Goulburn Street. They are also protesting about the alleged treatment of gay activist Bryn Hutchinson, who says up to five officers held him down and kicked him after he ignored their instructions to not cross a road on Mardi Gras night. The protesters are calling for an independent inquiry into the incidents, and say their march will be peaceful. "Urgent action is needed. We are peaceful protesters objecting to police violence," the organisers say on the event's Facebook page. Superintendent Tony Crandell, the Surry Hills Local Area Commander, said police had strong and trusting relationships with prominent members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community. However the protest organizers had been reluctant to meet with police, he said. "We have approached protest organizers in the spirit of co-operation to ensure a safe and secure environment in which protest activities can take place and to maintain the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area," Superintendent Crandell said. "At this stage there has been little willingness from organisers to meet with us. Notwithstanding early difficulties, we will provide an appropriate police presence at tonight's protest to ensure a safe and secure environment for our GLBTI community while minimising disruptions to peak hour traffic." He said the organizers had told police of the proposed protest route and timing. Motorists have been urged to avoid Oxford, Pelican, Goulburn and Riley streets between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Jackson has been charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest and is due to appear in court on April 1. On Wednesday night, before the new footage was made public, he acknowledged to A Current Affair that he was caught up in the festival atmosphere and was acting "silly" on the night. But Jackson said the response from the police officer, who was filmed throwing Mr Jackson to the ground, was over the top. "I could have been killed," he said. "The way he threw me to the ground, like, if I hit my head in the wrong position ... it was just crazy. I was in handcuffs, what could I have done? Why did I have to get thrown down like that? Why couldn't he just handle it, like, maturely?" The video has amassed more than 1.3 million views on YouTube since it was published on Monday. Police have launched an internal investigation to determine the full circumstances leading up to and surrounding the incident. Hutchinson, the former convenor of Community Action Against Homophobia, says he was kicked several times by officers on Mardi Gras night. "I was handcuffed and had my face pushed into the ground," he said. "I had a police officer leaning on me. I told him I couldn’t breathe. He said, ’If you can talk, you can breathe.” Hutchinson has been charged with assaulting police and will appear in central district court on April 5.