Footage has emerged of a police officer dislocating a legal observer’s wrist at the University of Sydney (USYD) during last Wednesday’s protests against student fee increases and federal government cuts to university staffing.
The video, posted yesterday by the Sydney University Education Action Group, shows a 19-year-old legal observer of the protest, Jayfel Tulabing-Lee, having her wrist bent backwards by a NSW Police officer twice her size as he tries to take her phone from her.
In the footage taken on 14 October, Jayfel can be heard crying out in pain as the officer grabs the phone from her hand, before the unidentified man filming is seized by police.
Tulabing-Lee said she was filming the actions of police as a legal observer of the protest before a police officer noticed her filming, approached her, and bent her arm behind her back to get her to release her phone.
“I was recording someone’s arrest. We were on USYD grounds, we were on campus, and I was recording someone getting arrested because the police were really violent with this person,” she told the Sentinel.
“They had hit [him] and grabbed his hair … dragged them around and put them onto the ground,” she said.
“It was really violent. I whipped out my phone to start recording it, and as soon as one of the riot police saw that, they grabbed my phone. I didn’t let go of my phone, so they grabbed my hand and twisted my hand and my arm around, and dislocated my wrist.
“I was arrested, and they issued me with a fine.”
Footage which went viral last week showed activists being pushed and hurled to the ground by officers while ordering protestors to disperse.
This newer footage shows Tulabing-Lee’s experience, as well as police kicking a student’s legs out from underneath them, and arresting another legal observer who was handing out legal information to protestors.
Legal observers (dressed in yellow) are trained volunteers who support the legal rights of activists. They are independent of the protest and do not participate as activists.
Tulabing-Lee said that due to the heavy-handed actions of police, the protest ended up becoming “very messy”.
“The police force on Wednesday was extreme. It was very violent. A lot of students were pushed, dragged along the ground, had their legs kicked out from under them, and a lot of phones were cracked. It was a very messy, messy encounter with the police.”
“There’s no concern for student safety there. It’s very disappointing. I don’t come on the campus to get assaulted by police.”
Tulabing-Lee said she received medical treatment from an on-campus physician after the protests.
“I’m fine. I’m very lucky because the dislocation could be be popped back, and will be OK.”
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