View Full Version : Police Accused of Inertia Over Violence

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 08:34 PM
Police accused of inertia over violence

CONCERNED residents and social workers in the South Coast town of Bermagui have written to the Premier, Nathan Rees, accusing police of indifference to a spate of race-fuelled violence in the area.

In the latest incident, a prominent Aboriginal family were victims of a vicious New Year's Eve attack that they believe was retaliation for a Supreme Court decision last year.

Muriel Campbell said her family was living in fear and had "given up on police" after being bashed while leaving the Bermagui Country Club at 1am on January 1.

Mrs Campbell and her nephew Kenneth Bell were punched in the face; her husband, Gary Campbell, a teacher's aide at the primary school, was knocked to the ground and kicked; and their son Ian was knocked out by an elbow to the jaw.

One of the two attackers identified himself as a member of the defence force, Mrs Campbell wrote in a statutory declaration. She said he shouted, "We fixed you black c---s tonight. I'm not afraid of the police. I have guns and I can shoot you black c---ts any time I want to. You might have won in Sydney but you are not going to win here tonight, you black c---ts."

The Campbells believe the attack was in retaliation for a Supreme Court case last year, following a brawl on the family's front lawn. The fight began after a group of youths arrived armed with clubs at 2am one night, shouting racist obscenities and threatening violence.

Nine people were charged and convicted, but Justice Peter Hidden later overturned the assault convictions of the five Aborigines involved, saying police had not followed the rules for interviewing indigenous suspects.

Five weeks after New Year's Eve, police had yet to interview the alleged attackers. Last night they could not confirm whether that was still the case.

Inspector Peter Volf said the case was not being swept under the carpet.

A newly formed 12-member Reconciliation and Justice Committee has written to the Premier alleging police racism.

"We are concerned the tardiness exhibited by police in pursuing this investigation would have not occurred if a white family had been bashed. We also must consider the possibility that the police's failure to act in this serious matter may reflect resentment at the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment, which reflected badly on local policing."

The Campbells' social worker, Sister Laurel Lloyd-Jones, has also written to the NSW Ombudsman and the Premier, asking them to investigate.