Black Lives Matter: Police Ram Disabled Aboriginal - Call for Full Investigation  

[supplied by Dianne Roberts]

 Image: supplied

Sydney lawyer, Stewart Levitt, who has acted for members of the Palm Island community since 2006, has called on the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission to investigate the vehicle ramming of Jawan Kerr by Palm Island Police on Saturday 29" August, 2020 on Palm Island.

 

Levitt said that he has spoken to eye witnesses, residents of Stanley Street, Palm Island, where eighteen (18) year old, Jawan, on Saturday, was fleeing police over an allegation that he had entered private property and stolen a packet of cigarettes.

 

A police car in pursuit of Jawan skidded and swerved off the road to drive into him, as he stepped off the road to approach the front gates of a neighbour's residence.

 

Neighbours expressed their dismay to Levitt that Jawan, who has a crippled left leg and walks with a pronounced limp from the hip down, was the victim of the use of a police car as a weapon against him.

 

"It was just before midday and it was easy to see. Police could easily have gotten out of their police car and caught up to him as Jawan can hardly run", said one neighbour who said she saw the whole thing from across the road but asked not to be named.

 

"It looked deliberate", she said.

 

Jawan reported being hit by a bull bar and knocked to the ground and then immediately set upon by police, who slammed him onto the road with a knee in his back and a fist in his jaw, while other police handcuffed him.

 

Two (2) eyewitnesses told Levitt that Jawan was dragged into a police van after being treated by ambulance officers.

 

He was then taken to the Palm Island Clinic before being transported to Townsville Lock-Up where he has spent two (2) nights before being granted bail.

 

According to Jawan, he is suffering severe back and hip pain and was not taken to Townsville Hospital.

 

No MRI had been taken of his spine or lower back.

 

He told Levitt on Monday night "I have very bad back pain and cannot sleep. I'm trying to lie on my belly'.

 

Neighbours reported hearing the screeching of tyres on the police vehicle before it swerved onto the grass strip at the side of the road and that they could hear the impact of the vehicle colliding with Jawan, whom the Police had been pursuing.

Lex Wotton who contacted Levitt to report the matter on Sunday afternoon said "I am shocked that the police would use a vehicle in this way to detain a disabled boy. Nothing that I have heard before or since would justify ramming him with a police vehicle."

 

Levitt also expressed concern at the adequacy of the medical investigations which had been undertaken with respect to Jawan's injuries, commenting, "Too often I have seen evidence of police making medical judgments and medical staff taking medical histories, from the police instead of from an Aboriginal injured person in police custody. I hope that this is not such an instance but it is a matter for the Crime and Corruption Commission to investigate".

 

Levitt continued: "The Police have now loaded up Jawan with further charges. The Police know they are likely to face an investigation of their own conduct and hope to be able to justify their methods".

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