Is this really ‘police brutality’?

Who remembers the Stasi, the loathed secret police force that fell along with the Berlin Wall in November 1989?

Certainly the tens of thousands of East Germans still alive who were jailed, tortured and spied upon remember their tormentors.

Last time I checked, Australia was not subject to such tyranny.

But you'd hardly know it given how our police are portrayed by some in the community.

It takes precious little these days to prompt certain idiots to scream "police brutality."

There was another example of this mentality in an incident on a Byron beach recently.

The Stasi fell in 1989 along with the Berlin Wall (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Stasi fell in 1989 along with the Berlin Wall (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Wobbly mobile phone footage was shared on the internet showing a police officer strike a suspect she was struggling to arrest.

The video duly made the evening news bulletins on TV, where it was described in gravelly tones as "shocking footage" by reporters who should know better.

Later that day, after the evening news had aired, NSW police attempted to fill in the yawning gaps in the story.

They said the woman seen being arrested was among a rowdy group.

Police claimed they found the remains of a bottle of vodka on the woman.

Oh, and why did the officer strike her? The officer, said police, was acting in self defence because the suspect was trying to bite her.

None of these claims much bothered the "police brutality" brigade, of course. They will be troubling a court of law soon, though. And until properly teased out there the woman arrested is rightly entitled to a presumption of innocence, regardless of what police say or what people think they can see in shaky mobile phone footage.

If only the same privilege was afforded to our police, who are subject to far quicker judgment on TV and social media.

TOP TWEED COP DEFENDS OFFICERS

A couple of days later we had the ridiculous sight of a group of naive young women marching on Byron Bay police station to protest against, you guessed it, "police brutality".

The controversial arrest of a woman on a Byron Bay beach.
The controversial arrest of a woman on a Byron Bay beach.

They were angered by the case of the woman arrested on the beach, and by another video circulated on social media showing the arrest of an intoxicated, naked 16-year-old causing a disturbance in a Byron street at 2.30 in the morning.

That one got the full shock, horror treatment on A Current Affair. The NSW Police Association said that the few seconds aired failed to show the full incident.

The teen's arrest is now the subject of an independent investigation to determine whether too much force was used. But never mind waiting for the investigation's result - the keyboard and TV warriors have their verdict.

Of less concern to the snowflakes marching on police stations is the fact that officers working in the Tweed-Byron command have themselves been assaulted more than 170 times in the past year.

Byron Bay Police Station has been the scene of protests. Picture: Jerad Williams
Byron Bay Police Station has been the scene of protests. Picture: Jerad Williams

Police on the Gold Coast regularly face the same problem. Only last month two officers were surrounded by a large group of youths and kicked and punched when called to an Upper Coomera house party which had spun out of control.

According to neighbours, "they had their phones out, yelling police brutality."

You have to ask quite how the "peace, love and happiness" brigade expect police to handle these kinds of incidents. Should officers hand suspects a flower, some magic healing crystals and ask them to try be a little bit nicer in future?

And who, exactly, would the protesters call if they themselves were unlucky enough to be subject of assault? I'll take a guess and say it won't be the Ghostbusters.

Even more offensive are the idiots who cause dramas and then have the temerity to complain if police get a little rough with them when they resist arrest.

If these people are truly concerned at becoming victims of "police brutality", I have a few handy hints for avoiding the problem:

Gold Coast police making an arrest at last year’s Schoolies festival. Picture: AAP/David Clark
Gold Coast police making an arrest at last year’s Schoolies festival. Picture: AAP/David Clark

* Don't break the law.

* Don't get drunk or off your head on drugs and make an ass of yourself in public.

* Show a little respect to our officers. If you're asked to move on, don't argue, just shut up and move.

As for the rest of us, it's time we looked a little more critically at every 10-second clip doing the rounds that attempts to portray our police in a bad light.

We must also never forget the risks to life and limb that the men and women of our police forces take every time they pull on their uniform and step out onto the street.

It's a hell of a tough job, and we should be very grateful there are so many fine people willing to do it.

If anyone's like the Stasi it isn't our police, it's those filming them as they try to deal with society's dregs, hoping for that one second in a long and arduous shift that they slip up. Our police deserve far better.

WORD OF THE WEEK: SICK

In my deep and lasting innocence I always interpreted the word 'sick' to indicate illness. Not any more, it seems. Younger folk are now increasingly using the term to indicate that something meets with their approval. For example, the sentence "that track is totally sick, dude" should be taken to mean "I believe that song to be very good, mate." However, the new usage of the word sick gets a little confusing when one considers that the old usage still applies. It is now totally legitimate to say "That party was totally sick, but I had too much to drink, so now I need a sick note for work." This columnist is concerned that what is most sick is the English language itself - in both senses of the word.



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