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Byron Shire
March 4, 2021

Local youth advocate appeals for unity after hearing over violent Byron Bay arrest

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A local youth advocate has pleaded for the community to work with police to address the issues of drugs and violence on our streets, after attending the public hearing into the violent arrest of a disturbed, drug-affected youth in January.

Nicqui Yazdi penned the impassioned call after attending the first two days of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission’s hearing into the 2am arrest, in which a 16-year-old youth with aspergers was capsicum-sprayed, tasered and repeatedly struck with batons while being restrained by four officers.  

‘In the coming months we will hold a public forum in Byron to learn the outcomes of this LECC hearing, but we will also hold a forum to look at actions to take from here, to address all of the problems that Byron has,’ said Ms Yazdi, who ran a crowdfunding campaign so that she and a local youth could attend the Sydney hearing.

‘We need to make this community a safer place for our local youth and our local people, but also for the visitors who come here, even if they are a major part of the problem.’

‘Because among those visitors are boys like this 16-year-old and his family, who love Byron, but they are now scarred over a terrible and tragic indecent that seems to be no one’s fault, except the culture of the party-town image of Byron, where Gold Coast young people have given drugs to a boy with Aspergers, that led to one of the most terrible things that has ever befallen our community, our local police, and this holidaying family.’

Local youth advocate Nicqui Yazdi

The hearing has been told that the 16 year old boy was holidaying with his family in Byron and had gone for a walk after dinner.

‘His parents saw no reason for him not to, and he went off and was in constant contact with them until around midnight, when he no longer answered his phone, so at around 1am his mother called the police to say that her son was missing,’ Ms Yazdi said.

‘During those few hours, this 16-year-old has been given two tabs of acid by a group of young people who told him they were from the Gold Coast. He had no idea what acid was and became increasingly agitated and overheated which was why he took off his clothes.’

The hearing has heard that when police arrived they were immediately concerned that someone would get hurt.

The youth was allegedly pacing up and down and shouting expletives at the sky.

‘We need to take a step back and look at what has happened to Byron police recently,’ Ms Yazdi says.

‘They have faced ever-increasing issues with drug-fuelled revellers, and in just the last few months a few incidents have led them to attempt to introduce new measures to protect themselves from the high number of injuries they are receiving attending these sorts of incidents.

‘On Christmas Day at the lighthouse they had a scene unfold that must have been horrific for them, a naked drug-fuelled man dragged a police officer out of a police vehicle and then he hurled himself into the windscreen of the car, smashing it. He was almost impossible to contain.

She said the police involved in the incident were ‘not in good shape’.

‘They are devastated and clearly remorseful over what happened. They are not bad men, they are men who have chosen to give their work lives to protecting our community and trying to keep the peace in what is far from a peaceful place any longer. I too feel deep distress for these men and their families, some of their wives are here, a sister, a father and they are all sitting through something I am sure they never thought would happen to them.’

‘No one is sitting here casting blame, even the family of this boy agree that what has happened in this incident is beyond any one person’s blame, it is a situation that has arisen due to abnormal circumstances and all the family want to see, is that yes, justice is served, but that changes are made to ensure that police have better training, so that nothing like this happens to another child like their son.’

Ms Yazdi said the family hoped to bring their boy back to Byron in the near future, so that he would heal from the incident.

She said the family also wanted ‘to help heal Byron too and plan that when he is ready, their son will come and speak with the community about what happened to him’.

Ms Yazdi said it was now up to the Commission to determine whether the officers had used excessive force, and whether they had acted with appropriate care when the boy was later being held at the police station.

‘What I have learned is that there is nothing black and white about this incident, and there will be no winners from this LECC hearing,’ she said.

‘I have been asking for many years for better relationships between the police and our local youth and I am determined to make that happen, as are the local police. We do intend to work together to create a safer environment for police and the community as a whole, but this is something we all need to work together on.

‘Byron Bay is drowning under the tide of increasing tourism numbers, increasing drug and alcohol problems, and increasing violence. This is not just a police problem, it is a community problem and the way forward is a long road, but one we must all travel together.’  

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  1. There can be no excuse for the bully policeman with the baton beating the boy repeatedly. The only way for Byron’s local police to regain the confidence of the community is to leak to the media the name of the policeman involved.

  2. Well said Ms Yazdi.
    Policing is a hard enough job what with domestic violence , horrific road traffic accidents and alcohol fueled bravado. Now with these new drugs making people act so violently and unpredictable it must make it hard for our local police to want to go to work.
    I’m glad they do, I couldn’t do their job, I’d be terrified .

  3. Four combat trained men are clearly covering their own wrong doing.
    Police have the option of body worn cameras and in car cameras to verify their claims of this young, terrified, disoriented Aspergers teen made them fear for their safety.
    They choose to not use this option because their lies become obvious when video evidence is presented to the court.
    Another white wash of criminal behaviour from the thin blue line.
    Respect needs to be earned, not beaten into a drugged Aspergers youth.

  4. These police are criminals – remove the blue uniform and this is a very very serious assault. It is ridiculous to suggest police are not to blame – the youth was sprayed twice, tasered and beaten 19 times with a baton. Get a GRIP if you wish to be a “youth advocate”

  5. Alcohol is by far the largest drug problem, and little is done to reduce its damage, as that is seen as ok, and alcohol is not even seen as a drug..its always drugs OR/AND alcohol, even in this article, a serious blindness.

    Sorry, but alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs according to research and results. It attacks health, can easy kill, and causes arrogant violence, without benefit. It has been reported that over 80% of all crime in Byron is due to alcohol..but thats ok, just ignore? Are you kidding?

    The other really dangerous drugs that kill are tobacco and a range of BIG pHARMa products, but all these killers get little notice except for evil meth/ice, due to a protective corruption for them and general ignorance..and these destructive killers are all legal!
    Also, there is no way anyone can be sure what they get in pills is safe without testing, but that too is blocked.

    Psychedelics in their pure form are now being used in carefully controlled clinic work that produce excellent benefits. Its not for everyone though, and some such as this lad with disease should never have had something he could not even know what it actually was. Prohibition is the direct cause of this lack of control.

    And at the same time, a widely beneficial herbal plant that cannot and has not killed anyone, Cannabis, without BIG pHARMa dangerous side effects, that saves lives and reduces suffering, with a range of other benefits that stop illness’s with strain targeting overseas, is made illegal, or placed under control of BIG pHARMa that block its use to sell more of their killer products. Prohibition has also caused Hydro, which is often full of dangerous chemicals.
    Hemp does not have the benefits of the other strains as it does not have a range of helpful ingredients such as the Terpenes that are very important for best results, but is still a great seed food and has limited benefit with prime ingredient CBD for some concerns such as epilepsy, in all mammals.

    Also, when California went legal for medical Cannabis use in 1996, they opened up a few hundred dispensaries that are years ahead of BIG pHARMa for results, and the herb plant is now are legal for all helpful use there.

    Australia is over twenty years behind Calif, Canada, and other places, and not even up to that old Calif.level by putting blocker BIG pHARMa in charge..in 2018!
    The ignorant and bought offs with their lies and corruption and false stigmas need to go.
    We need better more informed not bought off, and probably younger, politicians.

    Use of Cannabis has reduced alcohol and BIG pHARMa violence and deaths where made fully legal, with both home grown not for sale and very articulate dispensary sales.

    About time Australia also made a full shift to truth and reduced both alcohol and other legal drug use and damage, along with prohibition forced concoctions, by bringing Cannabis up to the best overseas legal standards too.

    Thanks to NIcqui for efforts to stop the damage, but until actual provable truth is allowed, there will be no solution.

  6. The kind of ‘police bashing’ that concerns me is the type that comes from the cop haters out there who seek any excuse to put the boot into police doing a very hard job. These armchair critics don’t make the policeman’s job any easier and they’re usually the first to squeal for help when faced with some juvenile thug stuffed with illegal drugs.

  7. Thanks to all for excellent comments. Until police and politicians are educated to truth without being corrupted by status quo ignorance and profits to a few, there will not be a solution.

  8. Something else to remember: never let your 15 year old go walking alone through town late In Byron Bay WITHOUT expecting they will be offered drugs of some kind at some stage.
    Also not all the dealers are out of “from th Gold Coast” or out of towners”
    It is naive to assume the problem lives outside of Byron bay.
    The town is in a very dark phase. Facing this hard truth and the source of why Byron youth are troubled needs to happen before real change can come.
    Deep rooted problems requiring an honest relationship with REALITY in order for any sustainable solution to show itself.
    Good luck


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