Northern Territory Council of Social Service

MEDIA RELEASE: Latest police violence video reinforces need for the AJA

TUESDAY 15 DECEMBER

One more piece of damning evidence to support the need for the Aboriginal Justice Agreement.

The video of police brutality at the Alice Springs watch house is both sickening and unsurprising, says the co-chairs of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, David Woodroffe, Principal Legal Officer from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), and Deborah Di Natale CEO of the Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS).

“This incident is two years old, but there are no assurances that structural change has occurred to prevent repeat occurrences,” said Mr Woodroffe.

“The Police Commissioner has asked for sympathy for the officers concerned whose ‘lot was probably a bit much for that day’ but what supports are in place now to protect children from police abuse?

“The Aboriginal Justice Agreement has a core objective to address racism in Government departments and contracted services. Let’s start with the police.”

Deborah Di Natale said the police are often the first interaction with the justice system, and this latest evidence reinforces the desperate need for a new approach.

“This is why we had a Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. This is why we have worked for so long on developing the Aboriginal Justice Agreement.

“We understand that police work can be exhausting, frustrating and difficult, but incidents like these can not be seen as ‘one offs’. They are indicative of a system that is broken, that serves no one and leads to unreasonable use of force.

“We are here, the Aboriginal Justice Agreement is here, to help create a culture in the police force that gets the best outcomes for our kids, and the community.”