Two NSW police officers have been found to have engaged in serious misconduct by racially abusing two Afghan women at a traffic stop in Western Sydney.
- Video taken from police body cameras shows one officer threaten to send the pair “back to jail”
- The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission found one officer was partly motivated by racial prejudice
- The LECC recommended disciplinary action be considered against each police officer
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) has released video of the incident, which occurred in April after the two senior constables followed the car for two minutes because they believed one of the women wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
In the video the first officer greets the 24-year-old driver with the words: “You have to be the most stupidest person I’ve met as the driver of a motor vehicle.”
He demands she and her stepmother produce identification, and when he is told the older woman recently arrived on a temporary visa, he threatens to put her in prison.
“We’re taking her back to jail anyway,” he can be heard saying in the video, which was filmed on one of the officer’s body cameras.
The officer orders both women out of the car and when the driver protests he tells his colleague to put her in handcuffs.
“Out of the car, whack the cuffs on her,” he tells his offsider.
He later threatens the woman with unrelated charges.
“Don’t argue with me love or you’ll be going in the back of the paddy wagon as accessory to bloody murder,” he says.
“Don’t you get aggro or you’ll be in the back of a divvy going back to the jail, don’t take advantage of our system.”
‘Bullied and frightened’
In her complaint to the LECC the 24-year-old woman also alleges the officers made further offensive comments after the camera was switched off.
The woman told the commission the officers accused her of having drugs in the car and suggested that if the police pulled the women over in Afghanistan under the same circumstances they would have been shot from behind.
The first officer did not deny saying those words and the Commission said “on balance” it was “satisfied that they were likely to have been said”.
In its report into the incident the Commission said it was satisfied the first officer had used “intimidating and abusive language” to the women and deliberately “bullied and frightened them.”
It was also satisfied that the officer’s conduct was “partially motivated by and exhibited racial prejudice”.
The second officer was also found to have engaged in misconduct, with the Commission finding he had “sought to intimidate” the car’s driver by aggressively asking her religion and “making baseless threats” to both women about being taken into custody or immigration detention.
The Commission also expressed concern about the “ripple effect” the conduct would have on members of the Afghan-Australian community.
“The people who hear of this incident are likely to form a very adverse view of police officers and as a result be wary of or even aggressive towards those officers with whom they come in to contact,” the report stated.
The Commission recommended disciplinary action be considered against both officers.
NSW Police said it acknowledged the LECC report and would consider all recommendations before providing a formal response.