EXCLUSIVE: As thousands of NSW Police officers and 300 military personnel take to the streets of Western Sydney to ostensibly help quell a worsening Covid crisis, shocking video has emerged of a young man being arrested this weekend with horrified onlookers screaming the man “can’t breathe” as others claim he was the victim of racism and arrested for being “a Lebo”. Serkan Ozturk reports.
A troubling and shocking video of a brutal arrest in Western Sydney has come to light just as nearly 1,500 more NSW Police officers as well as 300 Army soldiers have descended upon the city’s south-west to supposedly deal with a worsening Covid crisis and crack down on residents flouting stay-at-home restrictions and breaking public health orders.
Eight local council areas are now under lockdown as Sydney faces a worsening Covid crisis, with the highly contagious Delta strain of the virus forcing a city to be shuttered down since late June and a lockdown that will get harsher before it ends.
Members of communities of the multi-ethnic populations of Canterbury, Bankstown, and Fairfield have already indicated they feel under siege and like second-class citizens with their suburbs under harsh restrictions and a heavy police presence, while the virus was initially left to freely transmit through Bondi and elsewhere in the city’s exclusive eastern suburbs for a week or two after first case of community transmission involving a limousine airport driver on June 16.
It’s believed NSW Health had warned NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian about the potential for a major outbreak soon after the limo driver tested positive but her government resisted locking down the economy, eager not to upset its powerful business sponsors. And now it is the city’s western suburbs that are being hit with the hardest toll.
With the area’s residents taking cover from the increased presence of authorities, concerning and disturbing video has now emerged of a young man being arrested by NSW Police on a suburban Western Sydney street just a few days ago as angry onlookers claim he was the victim of racism and other witnesses shout “he can’t breathe” as a brawl ensues.
It is believed the incident took place on Thursday, July 29.
In the footage, a young man wearing a bum bag can be seen surrounded by three NSW Police officers.
WATCH THE SHOCKING VIDEO IN FULL BELOW
“I am so calm,” the man says at the beginning of the video.
“You have no reason to search me.
“You guys are really getting to a last nerve. I have literally walked out of here, done nothing wrong.”
The man then asks the surrounding police officers if he has hurt or threatened them.
“Have I done anything wrong to you?”
The police officers admit the man has not done any harm to then.
The interaction begins to go downhill soon after.
“Don’t touch me, let go of me,” the man tells police.
“I’m not going to let go of you … You’re being detained for the purposes of a search,” one police officer responds.
“For what reasons do you detain me?” the man asks the police.
“The reason is we suspect you are in possession of illicit drugs,” a male police officer states.
“What gives you that reason … that I have illicit drugs on me? What gives you a fucking reason?” the man angrily says.
“Because you’re Lebanese. You’re a wog. An Arab,” one female bystander says.
A wild melee then ensues after the man tells police he won’t resist arrest but he also won’t be arrested on the ground.
In scenes somewhat reminiscent of the infamous George Floyd case in the United States, three police officers crash tackle the man, with one police officer placing his knee on the man’s neck and a female police officer putting her knee in the man’s back.
“He can’t breathe,” one female witness shouts.
“My hand is breaking … My hand … Let go,” the man screams as he is on the ground.
“My hand is fucking broken. Get the fuck off me.
“You guys are terrorists …. Look what you’re choking me for? I told you I’m not resisting and I’ll turn around and you fucking choked me.”
The video ends with police seemingly harassing bystanders for filming the incident on their mobile phones.
Police have already issued more than 250 fines since the high-visibility police operation began this weekend.
The operation involves 1,300 police, including the Riot Squad as well as mounted police and sniffer dogs.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the hundreds of Army personnel deployed to Western Sydney this weekend will be playing a supporting role for NSW Police.
“The operation will be centred around the welfare of the community and ensuring that stay-at-home orders issued by NSW Health to specific individuals are observed,” Commissioner Fuller said in a statement.
“What this means is police officers will be assisted by ADF personnel as they … conduct welfare door-knocks and go through compliance checks of stay-at-home and self-isolation orders.”
NSW Police has been contacted for comment about the video.