Sydney’s outraged gay community will take to the streets following a number of alleged incidents of police brutality against revellers during the weekend’s Mardi Gras celebrations.
In the most talked about incident, a damning video clip showing 18-year-old Jamie Jackson being viciously thrown to the ground by officers has gone viral. (Watch the video below.)
Witnesses said that just before the incident shown in the video, police had slammed Jackson’s head against the pavement.
“We just saw you whack his head against the ground,” a woman can be heard saying in the video. “His blood is on the ground”.
An officer then throws the handcuffed Jackson’s full body to the ground and stands on his back.
Jackson repeatedly says, “I did nothing wrong,” and a woman is later heard urging the police: “Just don’t hurt him again.”
Police are also heard telling the man filming the incident to stop, but he refuses, saying, “It’s not against the law”.
Jackson was charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and using offensive language, none of which are seen in the video.
Following the posting of the video, police said that an internal investigation will held into the circumstances of the incident.
“I’ll be calling for an investigation,” the state MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, told the Sydney Morning Herald. “From what we can see it does appear to be heavy handed and extremely concerning.”
The organisers of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras issued a statement commenting that the footage showed “excessive force” and is “quite distressing”. They said they would meet with police in the coming days.
“…our thoughts are with the individual, his family, friends and those that witnessed this,” they added.
Since the news broke of Jackson’s assault a number of other men have come forward with claims of being manhandled by police during the Mardi Gras celebrations, reported the Star Observer.
An anti-homophobia activist, Bryn Hutchison, has claimed that he was assaulted by police while trying to cross the road. A second man claims he was assaulted and handcuffed for chewing gum. Another alleges he was strip searched in a police van and when officers discovered he did not have drugs on him, accused him of assaulting them.
The incidents have come as a shock in a city that is internationally renowned for being one of the world’s gay capitals.
A protest march to condemn the excessive force used by New South Wales police officers again the gay community is scheduled to be held this Friday.
March organiser Cat Rose said: “We demand an end to police violence against the LGBTI community and a full apology to Jamie Jackson and Bryn Hutchinson, and all victims of brutality at Mardi Gras 2013.”