Mardi Gras reveller shown kicking at police

MEGAN LEVY
Last updated 13:25 08/03/2013
Fairfax Australia

Fresh vision emerges of the lead up to the arrest of 1an 8 year-old at the Sydney Mardi Gras festival.

Anger over Mardi Gras arrest

Jamie Jackson
STRUGGLE: Jamie Jackson was arrested at the Sydney Mardi Gras after an altercation with police.

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A new video emerges of a Sydney Mardi Gras reveller who cried foul over his treatment at the hands of police - only this time he is shown kicking at officers.

It comes as more than 2000 people prepare to march through Surry Hills tonight to protest against what they said was an excessive use of force by police arresting 18-year-old Jamie Jackson about 10pm last 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 teenager claimed 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, showed that he was involved in a prolonged struggle with police as they tried to arrest him.

As he was held to the ground, Jackson repeatedly attempted to kick one of the officers in the face, while an onlooker yelled: "You'll make it worse for yourself. Stop!"

The new footage emerged as police said organisers of tonight'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 6pm 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 said up to five officers held him down and kicked him after he ignored their instructions not to cross a road on Mardi Gras night.

The protesters were calling for an independent inquiry into the incidents, and said their march would be peaceful.

"Urgent action is needed. We are peaceful protesters objecting to police violence," the organisers said 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, transexual and intersex (GLBTI) community. However, the protest organisers had been reluctant to meet with police, he said.

"We have approached protest organisers 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."

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He said the organisers had told police of the proposed protest route and timing.

Motorists have been urged to avoid Oxford, Pelican, Goulburn and Riley streets between 6pm and 8pm.

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 him 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, said 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.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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