Disturbing video footage of the arrest of an Aboriginal woman in Redfern has been labelled “racial profiling” and “police brutality”.
The video, shared on social media by Avani Dias, who is the host of Triple J’s Hack program, shows two male police officers speaking to Tarneisha Widders while she is having an anxiety attack.
Her partner Lili Bayles tries to calm her before being dragged to the ground by her jacket by one of the two officers.
Speaking with Hack, Ms Widders — who is an Anaywan and Birripa woman — said the couple had been pulled over by police while driving through the inner-city suburb.
The 19-year-old said things quickly “got heated”.
“I asked him why they pulled me over … that was racial profiling automatically, and (the officer) wouldn’t give me an answer and it started to really get heated quickly,” she said.
She told the program she was grabbed by the throat and slammed into a gate.
“I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it … you see this stuff happen to my family members and on TV, you never think you would be a victim of police brutality,” she said.
When Ms Bayles intervened, police pulled her away. Onlookers could be heard urging officers to use de-escalation tactics rather than force.
“Everyone witnessed how distraught my partner was and how afraid she was and she just kept saying, ‘I’m panicking, I have special needs, please move’,” Ms Bayles said.
In a statement to news.com.au, a spokesman for NSW Police said officers from South Sydney Police Area Command had been conducting “proactive patrols in response to a number of recent break-ins and stealing offences in the Darlington area”.
“While driving along Vine Street, they observed a woman, who had a jumper pulled over her head and appeared to attempt to hide behind parked cars,” the spokesman said.
“When the officers approached the woman and asked her to stop, she continued to walk in the opposite direction.
“The woman was eventually stopped on the corner of Thomas Lane and Vine Street, where officers identified themselves and their reasons for speaking with her.
“After the woman was unable to produce identification or provide the address of where she was staying, police requested her details to conduct checks to assist with confirming her identity.
“During this conversation, the 19-year-old woman became aggressive and spat towards police, before telling officers she would run from them and when she started to walk away, she was pushed back and later restrained.
“While officers were detaining the woman, another woman approached and had to be physically removed after she attempted to intervene by holding onto the 19-year-woman.”
Police said two female officers arrived and spoke with the woman before a search was conducted and she was allowed to leave the area.
Dr Julia Baird, host of The Drum on the ABC, also shared the footage alongside a question: “How often does this happen when no one is filming?”