The NSW police watchdog will hold a public hearing next week to determine whether or not the officers who forcefully arrested a naked, 16-year-old youth in Byron earlier this year engaged in ‘serious misconduct’.
But some locals are questioning why the hearing is taking place in Sydney, which effectively prevents the community from seeing justice done.
In a statement released to the media on Wednesday, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission said the hearing would take place on March 26 at the Commission’s Sydney officers and run for ‘a number of days’.
‘The general scope and purpose of the hearing will be to investigate whether any NSW Police Force officer involved in the apprehension, detention or treatment of a 16-year-old male at Byron Bay in the early hours of 11 January 2018 engaged in serious misconduct,’ the statement said.
The forceful arrest of the youth came to public attention on February 6 when Channel 9’s A Current Affair broadcast CCTV footage of the incident.
It shows an officer repeatedly striking the youth with a baton while three others hold him down.
In a statement to the media NSW Police said the police had been called to the lane by residents at around 2.30am and arrived to find the youth, who appeared to be affected by drugs or alcohol, lying naked in street.
Police said the teenager then became aggressive, necessitating the use of capsicum spray.
The youth then allegedly attempted to assault the officers and was tasered, police said.
Many Locals took to social media after the footage was aired to express their anger over the behaviour of the police involved.
In response to the LECC’s decision to hold the hearing in Sydney, local youth advocate Nicqui Yazdi has launched a crowd funding campaign so that she and a number of other community representatives can attend.
‘We are urgently seeking funding donations in a hurry for airfares, airport transfers and expenses to enable representatives of the Byron Community to attend the public forum next Monday,’ Ms Yazdi said.
‘At the very least youth leader James Wright and I would like to attend this hearing on behalf of the Byron community and to write a report on the proceedings to bring back to the people of Byron who have been desperately seeking answers to how this incident occurred and how the initial internal police investigation was conducted..’
To contribute to the campaign go to www.gofundme.com/get-byron-