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Townsville Bulletin | Stewart Levitt pushed for CCC investigation after Palm Island police incident

A leading law firm has demanded an investigation be conducted into an incident on Palm Island where a police car hit a man while he was allegedly running from officers.

Jawan Kerr, 18, was struck by a marked police car on Stanley St on Palm Island. Photo: FILE


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 incident, labelling it as “deliberate”.


Jawan Kerr, 18, was struck by a marked police car on Stanley St on August 29 while he was allegedly evading police over break-in offences.


Police state they were pursuing him over an alleged break-in and assault that occurred last week.

It will further be alleged when police were attempting to detain the man on August 29, he threw a chair at a female officer.


In a press conference on Monday, Townsville Tactical Services Group Inspector Sean Dugger said the man was highly motivated to avoid police.


Mr Levitt said he had spoken to eye witnesses who saw the police vehicle hit Mr Kerr.


“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 neighbours residence,” the media release states.


Lawyer and activist Stewart Levitt is pushing for a CCC investigation into an incident on Palm Island where a police car hit a man. Image: Gabriel Hutcheon

Mr Levitt stated neighbours watched the incident unfold about midday.


He claimed Mr Kerr had a “crippled left leg and walks with a pronounced limp from the hip down”.


An unnamed witness told Mr Levitt that “police could have easily gotten out of their police car” and caught up with the man.


Mr Levitt claims Jawan reported being hit by a bull bar and knocked to the ground “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”.


Police state he was taken to a medical centre with cuts and bruises, later deemed fit for custody and flown to Townsville watch house where he faced charges of serious assault police and one count each of burglary and commit an indictable offence, common assault, wilful damage, supplying dangerous drugs, and possessing drug utensils.


The statement said Mr Kerr spent two nights in a Townsville watch house before being granted bail.


Mr Kerr told Mr Levitt on Monday night that he had “very bad back pain and cannot sleep”.


Mr Levitt said Mr Kerr had told him he was not taken to Townsville Hospital.


Mr Levitt expressed concern at the adequacy of the medical investigations which had been undertaken with respect to Mr Kerr’s injuries.


“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,” he said.


“I hope that this is not such an instance but it is a matter for the Crime and Corruption Commission to investigate”.


A spokesman from Queensland Police said the Ethical Standards Command is investigating.

Senior police from Ethical Standards Command travelled to Palm Island on August 29 to

commence an investigation into the traffic incident.


Original article can be found here

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