It's a sad day when a grown man in uniform feels the need to brutally bodyslam a 15 year old girl.
I'm still shocked after watching the CCTV footage. After the girl walks through an open gate, he and a group of officers chase after her -- seconds later, the ticket inspector throws her against the fence, picks her up and body-slams her into the concrete. The group of officers stand around him looking on.
Yes, she was attempting to break the law by not paying for a ticket, but that is no excuse for his actions. How is throwing someone half your weight to the ground ever appropriate? He was angry and defensive, but even worse -- Metro Trains has supported his actions saying the officer "exercised his functions reasonably."
There was nothing reasonable about his actions. And it's unbelievable that Metro Trains could condone this sort of violence towards passengers. Shockingly, after a complaint from the officer it's now the 15 year-old girl being charged with assaulting the officer for slapping him.
This young girl could have been paralysed, acquired a brain injury, or worse. This kind of violence against anyone is unacceptable. Systemised and accepted violence is even worse -- and it's up to us, society, to say this is not tolerable and denounce violence wherever we see it. Authorised Officers often get a bad rap, but in this case it is justified. Metro Trains now has the opportunity to show some leadership by denouncing confrontational violence as a solution.
I'm asking Metro Trains to call to account the officer involved and provide anti-violence training to all Officers to prevent future abuse. Metro Trains should also offer counselling to any officers involved in violent incidents.
It's a sad day when a grown man in uniform feels the need to bodyslam a 15 year old girl. This is exactly what happened on 31 July 2013 when a 15 year old girl attempted to get into Flinders Street Station without buying a ticket. Yes, she was attempting to break the law, yes she fought back, but she did not have a weapon. How is throwing someone half your weight to the ground ever appropriate? He was angry, scared and defensive, but even worse, his colleagues did not intervene and Metro Trains has supported his actions. In fact, Metro Trains have not charged the officers and have said that the officer in question 'exercised his functions as an authorised officer reasonably'.
It is quite clear that this was not a reasonable action. It was an action undertaken in self defence. The officer apparently 'used verbal reasoning...to de-escalate the situation initially'. It is clear from the video that his first reaction was to throw the girl into the barrier and that there was no time for effective verbal reasoning. Not only did one offficer commit this act of needless violence, but his colleagues supported and defended him in doing so.
Violence against anyone is unacceptable. Systemised and accepted violence is even worse.
We can stand up as leaders and denounce violence and abuse wherever we see it. Whether inappropriate force, or verbal and emotional violence. It is up to us, society, to say that this is not tolerable in our world. If we remain silent, it will only worsen. Authorised Officers often get a bad rap, but in this case it is justified.
Metro Trains, this is your opportunity to take the lead in promoting a less violent society: please call to account these officers and provide them with counselling as this behaviour is not acceptable; please provide training to all Authorised Officers to prevent future abuses such as this; please address a culture of confrontation and aggression, used not as a last resort but in cases where it is not necessary.