a personal perspective, without apology.
your actions last saturday, 14 february, 2015, have once again given power to the redfern police to shut down the tj hickey marches entirely.
i do not know your names individually and i have no wish to do so. if that offends you as individuals then it is as nothing to the offence you have caused the hickey family, but especially his mother, gail hickey. great offence.
in my role as the president of isja, i too am extremely offended by what you see as your right to reduce her to an emotional mess by returning to the saturday march/rally with your malice-aforethought and provocative placards and banners. after the problems during the 2013 march/rally we met with some of your representatives so we could hopefully come to a sensible and amicable result. sadly that goal was not obtainable by either participant. it was explained to you, especially by the aboriginal members of isja present, that your continued attendance with your own agenda of ‘giving it to the cops’ was in no way part of the raison d’etre of the tj rally and march.
the rally and march, as clearly defined by myself and ms. hickey, both previously and on the day, is to be as an act of honour, respect and seeking of justice for his death arising from a redfern police pursuit. we are not there to be physically violent with the attendant police. for our safety we rely on police assistance as we march from point a to b or even c. our elders and children deserve at least that.
your actions last saturday came very close to shutting down the whole event at tj hickey park which, i believe, was the plan of the redfern police to realise the statement of the redfern commander, luke freudenstien, last year when he stated to the media on the steps of his police station,”there will be no more hickey marches!’ your actions greatly supported that police aim.
i realise that what i now intend to put on the record will have little if any interest to you, either collectively or as an individual. i however believe it to be important.
last monday i was in canberra for the aboriginal actions set to take place that coming week. at 5.45pm on monday night after the sit-in and 8 of our delegates talking with minister scullion on our demands arising from the aboriginal freedom summit at alice springs last november, i was contacted by a redfern officer, sam crisafulli, informing me that the commissioner of police had rejected our outlined march route and they were taking us to court. he further stated that i needed to present myself at redfern police station or send through documentation of a new route for the tj march by 12 noon on the tuesday. and further, we were to appear in the supreme court in sydney for a mention at 3.30pm on the wednesday to put our case to retain the original march route. he further stated, erroneously, that we were to appear before justice garling on the thursday. in fact we appeared before justice schmidt on the friday.
i arrived in sydney about 4.30pm on the tuesday to try and find somebody to run the case but all our legal friends were tied up elsewhere. i then proceeded to read the information that had been sent to my home email. on wednesday i attended the mention that highlighted that the police could not and did not want to ban the actual march but they opposed our favoured route into the city and they wanted that replaced by the more favoured police-preferred-offered march to the block. their concerns, the police, went to four areas arising from the problems identified in the 2014 march.
concern 1 was the length of the march and the resultant safety issues for protesters, the pedestrians and vehicular traffic. concern 2 was the need for 3 elders cars and one sound van. the third concern was to the possible numbers of marchers present and the fourth concern was the violence from influences outside of isja’s control, e.g.. the banners of the anarchists. whilst all four were looked at on the friday the greater emphasis was on concern 4. as we were leaving the court i was advised that further paperwork would be delivered to my home that night as what had been presented to me thus far did not have the correct official stamps of the court attached.
concern 1 was widened in the court to include the street beggars, the homeless and the sellers of the ‘big issue’!
so there was only one full day for reading and preparation before court on the friday at 10am before schmidt. j. other legal friends assisted as best they could and i thank them muchly for their invaluable assistance. so it fell into my lap to fight for our advertised route from tj hickey park to invasion park at circular quay.
friday saw 4 officers from the crown solicitor’s office, the very same office that supplied john stratton to represent gail hickey in the abernethy inquest at the request of then premier bob carr and then attorney-general bob debus. the outcome of that legal farce is well known. and then there was me. isja had a good many supporters in court and they are free to judge as they will and i thank all for their support and especially to rod and trudy bray who witnessed for isja relative to the police-initiated violence last year.
the crown opened basically with the four concerns above and presented the submission of inspector crisafulli that was full of innuendo, spin and outright lies. isja was presented as an organisation that was feared by both police and the public for our obvious violence and our revolutionary zeal to overturn the governments of australia. in his submission he stated that he had had no actual experience in working with isja rallies over the previous 10 years and he took all his information from the cops event reports after every march. his only real information was from other police officers, including commander freudenstien.
during my examination of him i was able to get him to agree that at no isja march/rally had anybody been arrested, that no one had ever been injured, there had never been any civil damage to any property and for the first 8 years there had never been any incidents. yet still he maintained that if we marched into the city then much damage of some kind would occur
the next police expert to appear was chief inspector cullen who was an expert on crowd crush and other similar experiences. i began by asking him, firstly, did he know me personally or the isja persons present and his reply was no, he had no knowledge of us at all. i then read the following statement in his submission that stated at paragraph 15:
“Over a 4.8 kilometre route the potential for conflict and public disorder is HIGH. I rely also on the previous conduct displayed by assemblies/marches organised by the defendant. Clearly there is an anti-police sentiment attached to this assembly/march and i have absolutely no doubt that elements of this assembly will not only ignore police directions but will deliberately commit criminal offences. Should the Police need to arrest an individual/s i have no doubt that they will be hindered significantly in the lawful course of their duties. I am very concerned that the negative interaction/s of police and participants in this assembly may degenerate to serious public disorder. I am very concerned that injuries will be occasioned to participants, bystanders and Police. Property damage will ensue and significant policing resources would have to be diverted from their normal community policing duties to restore public order.”
this in itself is an indictment of the arguments put forward by all police witnesses to malign isja and to place the full onus of the previous anarchist/police scuffles all on to isja as the signatory of the s1 that is presented to the commissioner. the police make the rules, however outlandish they may be, and there is no option of choice. every time isja has deleted certain points the police put them straight back in.
this statement also however opened the flood-gates of attempting to get me, firstly, to name the ‘outside’ group which i refused to do so, and secondly, to agree with the statement, inter alia, that because i could not guarantee that the ‘outsiders’ would/could return then i could not truthfully state that there would be no violence or return of the ‘outsiders’. a classic catch 22.
the judge found for the police and the city march was prohibited without the march being banned!
on the saturday we assembled at tj hickey park to ready ourselves for the much shorter march to the block. a crowd of some 200 gathered and all was peaceful until a/inspector luke baxter arrived with an unknown police office. luke informed us that we could have our elders cars as they were no longer an issue. we were welcome to stay for up to 20 minutes behind the road divider in lawson street, redfern, behind what we called ‘the cattle fence’ one road lane removed from the public footpath area to the side of the police station. i informed luke that this was not acceptable to our marchers and he merely shrugged.
prior to the attendance of the police, a member of the anarchist group showed me a black flag with the words, ‘cops killed tj.’ personally i had no concerns with it as i and many others had been verbalising the same sentiment for the previous 11 years and in written form also. the female officer ordered me to remove that flag and i replied that i would not as i did not find it offensive. police then removed it and then all hell broke loose in a battle between the cops and the participants. i have no idea what the sign said but it was obviously used by the many many police in the park area in an attempt to contain the rally to the park. gail became extremely upset and an emotional mess at the disrespect from all involved in the banner scuffle. i was almost knocked to the ground and could easily been trampled underfoot from both sides so i pulled back.
we managed to save the day and among the speakers was our good friend, david shoebridge of the nsw greens and a long-term supporter of the tj rallies/marches who stated two obvious points aimed squarely at the police. the first was, again, the observation of the massive over-policing of our marches, nearly a 1:1 ratio this year, and the question of when did the police decide that they were the arbiters of what was offensive or otherwise on a banner or placard? surely such offensiveness should come from the public and not the police?
we had family members speak and dancers from palm island. we also had cheryl and keith kalfauss from melbourne and the woman who was the aboriginal court support officer during the bogus coronial inquest. all in all a pretty eclectic group to pay respect to tj’s memory. something that is beyond the capacities of the police and the anarchists. if the police are so upset and offended by the anarchists words and actions why are they allowed to join the peaceful rally that we always conduct? there is only one real answer to that and that is that the redfern police are more greatly offended by our annual raising of their crime against tj than any concerns about the anarchists participation, they are but the means to a dishonourable end.
from the fence line at tj hickey park we then marched to the intersection of redfern and regent street where a halt was called. i announced that we were now at a point whereby all participants had to make an individual choice. they could walk to the cattle fence and join us as we marched to the block or we could remain where we were to allow us to march through the alleyway to the front of the police station. i said it several times but nobody moved. luke baxter arrived and told us to move on but i replied that as there was now no s1, no agreement between us, we therefore wished to march our way to the block and not theirs.
a mexican stand-off ensued. luke turned from me and began berating and pressuring gail to accept their route. after a short time, for the second time that day, gail was reduced to tears. i know not what luke said but i do know that breaking gail was, again, a means to an end. we marched behind the cattle fence, had another silence for tj and moved on to the block.
i take full responsibility for the stand-off but not for the actions of the anarchists who deliberately crash our marches and rallies and create chaos. they must stop and recognise that by their actions they are doing the work of the redfern police and how that is advantageous to their collective is absolutely beyond my understanding.
2016, if i am still here, i will put another s1 into the redfern police. it will be rejected by them and another court case will probably ensue whereby i will once more go through the foul process of outright lies, spin and innuendo. but i shall also be legally clubbed with this years action of the black rose anarchists, and the year before that, and the year before that.
on reflection there appears to be a pattern emerging. the anarchists did not come to the death-in-custody march of eddie murray last year. the anarchists did not attend the death-in-custody march of mark mason last year. the anarchists did not attend the invasion day rally and march this year.
they have only attended the death-in-custody march of tj hickey for the previous 3 years. the same marches that the redfern police have fought against us going into the city.
just who is using who?
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