Canberra – Australian police have released disturbing video footage of a senior officer’s assaults on aalleged offenders at Airlie Beach police station, a day after he was sentenced to jail over the incident.
Police said the videos had been made publicly available online in recognition of the public interest in the matter.
Acting Commissioner Ian Stewart said there was no place for such conduct in the Queensland Police Service.
The first video shows the then Senior Constable Benjamin Price throwing a slightly built, handcuffed woman tourist to the ground then pulling her up by the hair. In the soundless video, another officer walks in while the assault was going on, but appears to keep mum.
In the second video, Price appears out of screen for sometime before dragging the handcuffed offender up to a wall. The footage further shows the victim’s face and nose covered with blood, before another officer hands Price a fire hose, which he shoves in the victim’s face.
Former officer in charge of Whitsunday police station Sergeant Russell Pike said that after Price assaulted tourist Renee Toms in January 2008, he and two junior officers filed a report of excessive force that amounted to serious misconduct against the then senior constable, and expected it to be investigated.
“In January 2008, I personally made recommendations that Price be withdrawn from active duty until the investigation was conducted,” Mr Pike said.
“The recommendations were ignored. The truth is the police service had full knowledge of Price’s behaviour and failed to act on it.”
On Monday, the Townsville District Court sentenced Price to27 months jail, after he pleaded guilty to four counts of serious assault.
While sentencing, Judge Stuart Durward condemned his actions as “gratuitously violent, callous and contemptible” and added: “Your actions were grossly excessive. You abused your authority.”