Posted June 16, 2019 17:00:46A NSW Police Service (NSW) sergeant who fired at a protester during a peaceful protest on the Gold Coast has been suspended from the force.
Police charged the 26-year-old man with obstructing the path of traffic, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possessing a weapon in a public place.
He is due to appear in the Magistrates Court on June 20.
The incident occurred on Saturday night, when an estimated 300-400 people gathered on the beach for a peaceful march.
The sergeant fired his weapon at the protester after the protester made a number of threatening gestures, including waving a knife at him, as he was driving away.
“I did not intend to cause the harm,” the sergeant told police.
“It was an accidental discharge.”
He was also charged with assaulting another officer, who was also struck by the protester’s vehicle.
The police service said the man was not arrested, and his actions were in line with the rules of engagement.
“The sergeant acted appropriately, while maintaining the respect for all protesters and their lawful protest activities,” the NSW Police Force said in a statement.
It said it was working with the state’s Attorney-General’s Department to investigate the incident.
The incident comes amid mounting pressure for the Government to change laws that make it a criminal offence to protest, such as the one passed in the lead-up to the 2016 state election.
Opposition Leader Luke Foley called on the Government on Tuesday to take swift action to address the issue of police violence against protesters.
“If you’re going to go and tear down police officers, tear down the police officers who are doing it, tear them down, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for,” Mr Foley said.
“We need a serious response, a serious investigation into what happened.”
Topics:police,law-crime-and-justice,law,state-parliament,national-parks,parliament-house-2610,southport-4215,australiaFirst posted June 15, 2019 14:20:21More stories from New South Wales