A NSW Government website

Media Release - Commission to refer NSW police officer’s use of force on young Aboriginal man in his custody to DPP

Updated Tuesday, 26 September 2023

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has made a serious misconduct finding against a NSW police officer and has informed the Director of Public Prosecutions it will seek its advice on prosecuting the officer for two counts of assault, according to a newly tabled report.

The NSW police officer attracted the Commission finding after his use of force in recapturing a 17-year-old Aboriginal male attempting to escape custody in a hospital was found to be excessive.

After the 17-year-old was apprehended and brought under control, the police officer without justification punched the young person twice in the head before dragging him along a hospital floor, and then not adequately recording the use of force, the report said.

Commissioner Anina Johnson took evidence in six private examinations from police and hospital staff, according to the Commission’s report on the investigation known as Operation Potosi.

The Commission investigation began after hospital staff informed the Commission and the police force that they had witnessed a police officer punch and then drag a young Aboriginal man by the handcuffs along the ground in a Western Sydney Local Health District hospital in November 2020.

Commissioner Anina Johnson described the impact on hospital staff.

“Experienced hospital staff were shocked at what they saw in the emergency department that day.

“It was important that the Commission investigate whether the use of force was lawful,” she said.

The Commissioner has made a non-publication order about the Operation Potosi investigation. There shall be no disclosure of the identities of people involved in the Operation Potosi investigation. All witnesses are to be referred to using the pseudonyms contained in the report.

The Commission’s Operation Potosi Report containing the pseudonyms to use can be found here

LECC Media Contact: Rob Schell
Mobile: 0425 317 535
Email: media@lecc.nsw.gov.au