New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has weighed in on viral footage of a white Sydney police officer slamming an Aboriginal teenager to the ground, saying “we still have a long way to go.”
A junior constable is being investigated by police after footage went viral of him using force to arrest a 17-year-old in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills.
The teen was taken to holding cells and onto St Vincent’s Hospital for observation.
“I think I thought what most Australians thought,” Berejiklian told ABC News Breakfast of the viral video.
“And that is - we still have a long way to go in our country.”
The police officer has been placed on restricted duties and is being internally investigated by the Professional Standards Command.
“What happened in the US is a good wake-up call for all of us, and I think that all of us have our hearts breaking as to what’s happening in the United States,” Berejiklian added.
“And we have to ensure that we can do what we can in our own country to protect all of our citizens.”
Since George Floyd, a Black man, died in Minnesota after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, cities across the US and world have protested against police brutality and racial inequality.
A Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney saw a turnout of thousands on Tuesday, as Australians rallied in solidarity with protesters in the US but also to raise awareness of Australia’s own history with police killings.
The Guardian’s special 2018 Deaths Inside report used 10 years of coronial data to find that 407 Indigenous Australians had died in police care since the end of 1991’s royal commission.