27 April 2018

Two police officers found guilty of assault

| Ian Bushnell
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Two Australian Federal Police officers have been found guilty of common assault during a traffic stop in Civic in which a male passenger was grabbed by the head, dragged from the car on to the ground and handcuffed.

The 2017 Australia Day incident was filmed by his girlfriend, who was also in the car, on her mobile phone.

The ABC said the ACT Magistrates Court had been told that the officers – Senior Constable Matthew McVicar, 35, and Constable James Head, 29 – had threatened to search the passenger for being a ‘smart arse’ before swearing at him to get the ‘f… out of the car ‘, after he had interrupted their conversation with the driver.

ACT Policing said that charges of assault occasioning bodily harm had been laid after the victim’s complaint was investigated by Professional Standards. The pair had pleaded not guilty.

But Magistrate Robert Cook, after watching the video, found them guilty of a lesser charge of common assault because the teenager’s injuries were minor.

He said the force used was ‘highly excessive’ and the incident ‘over the top’.

Magistrate Cook found that the man had not been given enough time to respond and that he had not struggled or resisted as claimed by the officers.

They will be sentenced July 10.

ACT Policing said it and the Australian Federal Police took any allegations of misconduct seriously.

“Allegations of misconduct are dealt with in accordance with robust complaints management framework with oversight or investigation by Professional Standards or the Australian Commission of Law Enforcement Integrity,” ACT Policing said.

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