The arrest of Sydney’s identity Danny Lim, which left him hospitalized, will be independently reviewed after plans for an internal investigation sparked outrage.
Lim remains in hospital on Wednesday after being arrested at the Queen Victoria Building in central Sydney on Tuesday.
Attorney Chris Murphy shared a video of Lim, 78, being thrown headfirst by two ground officers during the arrest as a witness gasped.
Police handcuffed Lim then called off the arrest after noticing his injuries.
Lim was taken by paramedics to St Vincent’s Hospital and diagnosed with internal skull damage, Mr Murphy later said on Twitter.
He has since been diagnosed with a subdural hematoma and remains in hospital awaiting further tests on Wednesday.
Police said officers gave Lim a directive after he refused to leave the Queen Victoria building when asked.
“The man’s arrest has been halted after he struggled with police and sustained a cheekbone injury,” police said on Tuesday.
Lim’s arrest was to be investigated internally as a complaint, NSW Police said.
This investigation was to be overseen by the independent Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.
However, an independent review of the incident has now been established, Deputy Prime Minister and Police Minister Paul Toole told AAP.
“I spoke with the police commissioner, who informed me that an independent review has been established to look into the actions of the police in Mr. Lim’s arrest,” Mr. Toole said on Wednesday.
“I will await the conclusions of this examination and wish him a full recovery.”
The arrest was described as disturbing by Australian Lawyers Alliance National Criminal Justice spokesman Greg Barns, who said the use of force was excessive given Lim was over seventy year.
“How Much Has Police Culture Changed From Street Policing?” said Mr. Barns.
“The police encounter vulnerable people every day – they encounter homeless people, people with mental illness.
“To be treated in this way… is deeply disturbing.”
Mr Barns said Lim also deserved better than an internal review, and NSW had a whitewashed history of police misconduct as officers were charged with minor offences.
“It is intolerable that the police are investigating this matter on their own through an internal review.”
The aborted arrest was condemned by the NSW Greens, who said it was a violent response to a non-violent protest and called for a swift protest at Surry Hills police station.
“NSW Police’s actions yesterday were completely irrelevant and indicate how dangerous new police powers are to vulnerable people in our society,” Greens MP Sue Higginson said on Wednesday.
“This type of violent arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere.”
Ms Higginson said the Greens had written to Mr Toole and NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb seeking assurances there would be an independent investigation.
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