SMH: Charges laid against ex-police officer over alleged assault on Aboriginal teen

A former police officer has been charged with assault over an incident involving an Aboriginal teenager in September 2019, when the then-senior constable was on duty with two other officers in the northern NSW town of Casino.

Video of the incident was captured by a bystander, and appeared to show the 17-year-old boy being surrounded and questioned by the three officers as he repeatedly told them, “I’m going home.”

As the boy attempts to keep walking, the video appears to show one of the officers shove him back. He then appears to strike him on the head after the boy pushed another officer’s hand away.

After the bystander calls out to the police and tells them he is filming, the first officer asks the boy why he had “a swing at” the other officer. The boy replies he didn’t “take a swing”.

The officer alleged to have committed the assault is Benjamin David Chivers. He is no longer a member of the police force.

In a statement on Monday, NSW Police said officers attached to Richmond Police District commenced “an extensive review regarding an alleged assault in Casino involving a then 39-year-old senior constable and a 17-year-old teenage boy”, in September 2019.

About 5.30pm on Sunday, police issued Mr Chivers, now aged 40, with a court attendance notice for the offence of common assault. He is due to face Lismore Local Court on March 22.

The charge comes after the teenager, represented by solicitor Joe Fahey from Foott Law, began legal proceedings against the state of NSW last year seeking damages for alleged assault, battery, false imprisonment and trespass to property.

Mr Fahey claimed in June that, when the teenager and his relative went to the Casino police station to make a complaint on the night of the alleged assault, police locked the doors and refused to let them in.

On Monday, he said the family “welcomes that the appropriate actions have been taken by the police”.

The civil matter remains before the courts.

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