Video: Witnesses allege police brutality at Sydney Mardi Gras 2013

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Warning: This video contains graphic images of physical violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

A video and several witness accounts alleging police violence at Sydney Mardi Gras 2013 have emerged.

In the four minute video, a man is detained by police, while others, including the person making the video, attempt to get the badge number of the officer involved.

The person recording is then asked to stop recording, which he contests, and says there is no law to stop him from recording.

Several witnesses in the video say they saw the incident, during which the officer allegedly grabbed the detainee by the throat and hit his head on the ground.

Co-Convenor of Community Action Against Homophobia Bryn Hutchinson also claimed that in a separate incident, he was subjected to police brutality.

According to SameSame, Hutchinson, 32, said he attempted to cross a road, but was asked by a police officer to remain on the other side. He then said he was grabbed by several police officers who threw him to the ground on his back.

He said: “I was hogtied and then they pushed my face into the concrete.” Images of Hutchinson’s injuries were uploaded to SameSame along with his statement.

“They were applying weight onto my back and I couldn’t breathe properly. I said I can’t breathe properly, and one of the officers said, ‘If you can talk, you can breathe’. I wasn’t resisting any sort of police intervention but I was really struggling to breathe. They didn’t stop applying the pressure and they had also kicked me.”

He then said that an officer told him he was being charged with assaulting a police officer for wrapping his legs around a police officer during the incident. He said he had no recollection of doing that.

One witness said the incident didn’t seem homophobic, but that he thought the police response was excessive. He said: “This didn’t seem like a gay bashing, but it was because the guy wasn’t cooperating with police they used force … and then it was out of control,” he said.

“I definitely 100 per cent saw the kick and stomp. Everyone sort of gasped,” he continued.

A City of Sydney spokesperson said that, as the CCTV cameras there are used to monitor the footpaths, and since the incident took place on the road, there was no footage of the incident.

The spokesperson said: “Our security team have reviewed the footage and can not see any incident on our cameras.”

“The City’s CCTV cameras are not designed to monitor road traffic as they are more focused on the footpaths.”

Other incidents, including strip searches, were also alleged to have taken place on Saturday evening’s Mardi Gras.

A statement from Mardi Gras Organisers read: “The Board and Management of SGLMG assure the community and parade viewers that we have requested a meeting tomorrow with the Minister of Police and that we are working with the state Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich, MP Sydney, to have this incident investigated and addressed.”

SameSame have put out an appeal for further witnesses to come forward. 

As the 35th Mardi Gras was kicking off in Sydney on Saturday, organisers had expected hundreds of thousands of people in what was one of the biggest in the event’s history.