Indigenous teen's family wants cop charged

The arrest of a NSW teenager is under scrutiny amid international protests against police brutality.
The arrest of a NSW teenager is under scrutiny amid international protests against police brutality.

The family of an indigenous teenager who had his legs kicked out from beneath him while being arrested in Sydney has called for the police constable responsible to be charged.

The sister of the 16-year-old said her family was angry and frustrated following the incident in a Surry Hills park on Monday when the teen was arrested after appearing to threaten to assault the police officer.

"The frustration of being constantly targeted by police ... and not being able to place your trust in people who are employed to protect to you, is sad and worrisome," she told reporters on Wednesday.

"This police officer must be charged so we don't have to deal with another incident like this."

The boy's mother said her son shouldn't feel like he was living "inside a prison made up of the whole world".

"Because we're Aboriginal ... we experience extra obligation to answer to people, who we are, where we're going ... when we're just walking along," she told reporters.

NSW Police is investigating after the youth was taken to hospital with minor injuries following his arrest which was captured on a mobile phone and posted on social media.

The footage appears to show the teenager telling the officer "I'll crack you in the f***ing jaw, bro", before he was swept to the ground and handcuffed. He was later released without charge.

His sister said regardless of the threat, he should not have been thrown to the ground.

"Teenagers, they're lippy, but you don't just abuse children because they're lippy," she told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Police chief commissioner Mick Fuller on Wednesday admitted there were other ways the officer could have dealt with the verbal threat.

"This is a case of two things - is it reasonable for someone to swear and threaten a police officer and, then, is the force the officer used reasonable?" Mr Fuller said on 2GB radio.

"I don't know what happened before in terms of the lead-up, but there were probably other ways the officer could have dealt with that matter, no doubt."

The police force's professional standards command is investigating and the constable has been placed on restricted duties.

NSW Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Karly Warner said Monday's incident is not isolated.

"Aboriginal kids are routinely harassed, stopped, questioned and searched by police for no reason," Ms Warner told reporters on Wednesday.

The lawyer said the family wants to know what will happen to the officers who watched the arrest.

NSW Labor indigenous affairs spokesman David Harris said the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission should review how police officers interact with Aboriginal people.

National Justice Project lawyer George Newhouse said the family has requested he launch a private prosecution if the constable is not charged, while the Redfern Legal Centre has referred the matter to the independent police watchdog.

The teenager's father paid tribute to the family of George Floyd who died while being arrested in the US city of Minneapolis last week.

He said his son's experience was reminiscent of his own treatment as a young man.

But Police Minister David Elliott said Sydney was not Minnesota.

"I was just as disturbed about the threat from a young person to physically assault a police officer as I was with the response from the police officer," Mr Elliott said.

Australian Associated Press