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Media release - LECC Operation Venti s 132 Report July 2023

Commission finds NSW police officer’s throwing of a torch hitting young Aboriginal man to be serious misconduct.

Thursday, 13 July 2023

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has found a Hunter-region NSW Police Officer engaged in serious misconduct after he threw a torch at a 16‑year‑old Aboriginal man striking him on the back of the head causing an injury, according to an investigation report presented to Parliament today.

The Commission’s investigation known as Operation Venti found the officer’s torch-throwing in the early hours of 21 November 2020 was an unreasonable use of force.

The Commission also found the officer’s failure to switch on his body worn camera, as well as not reporting his use of force, was serious misconduct.

The Chief Commissioner, the Hon. Peter Johnson SC, has recommended that the Police Commissioner should consider using powers under the Police Act 1990 to dismiss the officer or otherwise seriously discipline him.

The Chief Commissioner said the report highlights the usefulness of the legal powers available to the Commission:

“The Commission made use of lawful powers of compulsion to obtain key admissions which underpin the investigation report’s findings and recommendations,” he said.

The Chief Commissioner said:

“This investigation illustrates the need for body worn video cameras to be activated when police interact with a citizen and noted the prospect that further scrutiny by the Commission may be required if a claim of excessive force is made and no body worn video is available.”

All persons are referred to in the report by pseudonyms for reasons explained in Appendix 2 of the report.

The Operation Venti report can be accessed on the Commission’s website here.