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Guardian | Call for independent investigation after police allegedly rammed Indigenous teen with car

Lawyer Stewart Levitt, alleges Jawan Kerr was knocked to the ground by a police car during his arrest on Palm Island.

Jawan Kerr’s lawyer, Stewart Levitt, wants the police officers’ conduct during the arrest to be examined by the Crime and Corruption Commission. Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP


Queensland police are investigating the conduct of their own officers after they allegedly rammed a disabled Indigenous teenager with their car during an arrest on Palm Island.


Jawan Kerr, an 18-year-old resident of Palm Island in north Queensland, was arrested by police on Saturday for an alleged burglary.


His lawyer, Stewart Levitt, alleged that Kerr – who walks with a limp – was “rammed” and knocked to the ground by a police car during the arrest, and the officers’ conduct should be examined by the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission.


“A police car in pursuit of Jawan skidded and swerved off the road to drive into him,” according to Levitt.


“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 … while other police handcuffed him.”


According to Kerr’s lawyer a witness told him that the teenager “can hardly run” and that “police could easily have gotten out of their police car and caught up to him”.


Levitt, who is calling on the commission to investigate the arrest, said that Kerr was not taken to a hospital, or given any scans, despite suffering severe back and hip pain.


According to Levitt, Kerr told him: “I have very bad back pain and cannot sleep. I’m trying to lie on my belly.”


The teenager was taken to a clinic on Palm Island for medical treatment before being taken to Townsville police station.


He appeared before Townsville magistrates court on Monday, when he was granted bail.


Levitt said that Jawan was still “in a lot of pain”.


On Wednesday, a Queensland police spokeswoman said the police’s internal ethical standards committee was investigating the arrest.


“Senior police from Ethical Standards Command travelled to Palm Island on August 29 to commence an investigation into the traffic incident,” police said.


“A marked police vehicle was involved in a collision with a man fleeing police on Palm Island on August 29. The incident occurred around 10.45am on Stanley Street as officers were pursuing a man wanted in relation to an alleged burglary.”


Police said Kerr sustained “minor injuries” and “was immediately transported to the Joyce Palmer Health Service for examination where he was medically cleared for custody”.


Kerr was charged with one count each of burglary, common assault, supplying dangerous drugs, possessing drug utensils, wilful damage and two counts of seriously assaulting police.


Police allege he threw a chair at an officer when they attempted to arrest him.


Levitt said that the arrest should be investigated by a body that was independent from the police.


“The level of independence among fellow members of the Queensland police union is questionable,” he said. “We want something independent.”


Original article can be found here

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