Police assault unionist standing up for refugee rights

“Queensland Police Service always puts community first”
– Labor Government Police Minister, Mark Ryan

Snr Cnst David Giddins growling at refugee activist

News from KP Prison – Footage shows Senior Constable David Giddins (badge number 7763) assaulting people trying to give first aid to man – wearing an NTEU union cap* – Officer Giddins hit the man on the side of the face — who was now bleeding from the ear on the ground in front of him.

Unionist at Kangaroo Point Hotel/Prison where he was assaulted by police. [NTEU = National Tertiary Education Union.]

Giddins also assaulted several other people and attempted to stop cameras from filming – slapping one camera to the ground – Giddins name and badge number were clear on that camera.

This afternoon, Acting Police Assistant Commissioner, Brian Conners, said in a press conference that he believed the actions of the officer were “appropriate“.

Police issued a statement claiming that the man did not require medical assistance. This proved untrue because the man spent many hours in the emergency ward of the Mater Hospital. He was not released from hospital till the following afternoon.


A Queensland Police officer king hit a man from behind at a refugee rights rally in Brisbane on Sunday 25 Oct 2020.

A video shows the man standing alone before Qld Senior Constable David Giddins (Public “Safety” Response Team) cowardly punches him from behind. Giddins is a repeat offender having menaced protestors outside the Kangaroo Point prison set up by Immigration Minister Dutton. The Queensland Government has come out against the protestors on several occasions. Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles who has been vocal on the refugee protests is a former office bearer with the Public Sector Union, Together. Miles has been the Labor member for Murrumba in the Queensland Legislative Assembly since 2017.

What appears to have happened is that the cop runs up hits and pushes the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) member to the ground. Another refugee activist wearing a Covid-19 safety mask tries to protect his comrade on the ground. A melee ensues and the crown begins to chant “all cops are bastards” and they push police away as they attempt to arrest the man.

a/Assistant Commissioner Brian Conners responding to questions about the assault on union member

Response from Senior Police
A police spokesperson claims police are investigating policeman Giddins.

In a Pythonesque moment at a press conference following the assault by police officer Giddins, a/Assistant Commissioner Brian Conners calmly stated:

It certainly doesn’t appear to us that it (the assault) was what it appeared to be under the context that it was shown to be (by the video footage). Digging himself an even bigger hole, the Assistant Commissioner then went on to blame the camera angles of the footage taken by witnesses for making something that appeared to be an assault to actually confirm that it was an assault.

Quite a lot of footage of the incident was taken at the scene. It is likely police will make up a story saying that the union member did something off camera to justify the violent assault by Giddins and the attempted arrest by a cohort of police.

Refugee Solidarity Meanjin issued the following statement:
New footage of Senior Constable David Giddins (badge number 7763) assaulting the people trying to give first aid to the person he’d just coward punched—who was now bleeding from the ear on the ground in front of him.

Giddins also assaults several other people and attempts to stop cameras from filming his name and badge number close up.At one point Giddins slaps a phone camera to the ground. Yet Acting Assistant Commissioner Brian Conners said in a press conference that he believed the actions of the officer wereappropriate“.”

Response from unionist who was assaulted by Giddins

Snr Cnst David Giddins assaults unionist

We should never lose sight of the fact that the violence inflicted on the minds and bodies of the Kangaroo Point and BIDA (sic, BITA = Brisbane Immigration Transit Centre) refugees for more than seven years is a crime infinitely more harmful. Their fortitude and resistance in the face of this brutality is astounding and an inspiration to all of us. … It is, in the end, a political strategy. Cops are used against us when we act in ways that show we refuse to accept and be weakened by concocted divisions based on nationality, race and religion.

The frenzied behaviour of the cop who king hit me represents the face of the boss class when those ideas start to break down. He is part of the establishment’s last line of defence. Which is all the more reason for us to keep going. Our friends inside Kangaroo Point prison and BIDA deserve nothing less. See everyone at the action on Friday” … https://www.facebook.com/events/635438127076428/

Democratic Rights
Senior police claimed after the assault that the demonstration outside the Kangaroo Point Hotel/Prison was unlawful. This is demonstrably false. The Queensland Peaceful Assembly Act 1992 clearly permits such protests.

Police used similar tactics during the Queensland Democratic Rights campaign in 1978. Here is one account of how governments deploy police to stop protests.

Ciaron O’Reilly who was in a street march against uranium mining and export wrote :

“I was promptly bashed by Detective John Frederich Johnstone of the consorting squad after I had screamed objections to him felling John Roberts.

Det. Johnstone was later to break my brother Sean’s nose in an unfortunate (for Sean, not for me) case of mistaken identity at a similar march in the August of that year.

Det. Johnstone was later charged and convicted, along with another corrupt copper, of extortion and sentenced to 3 years. I spent two days in the watchhouse following arrest and assault by Det. Johnstone (March 1978). (My brother) Sean had his nose broken (August 1978) by a uniformed cop, Terry Edwards. Det. Johnstone ran some distance to strangle Sean and effect the arrest.  Sean later had his broken nose operated on at RBH. ” – Ciaron O’Reilly Irish Essays.

Ciaron was arrested at a right to march rally on 4th March 1978. Later I attended the trial before Magistrate William Joseph Mackay. Ciaron O’Reilly had about eight unimpeachable witnesses including Jim Dowling (Catholic Worker) and members of the clergy and nuns.

Ignoring all defence witnesses, Magistrate William Joseph McKay convicted Ciaron O’Reilly of assaulting a police officer stating that Det. Johnstone was responding to events that occurred out of witnesses sight and earshot.

Sean O’Reilly’s testimony in a later court case went like this:

The cop who actually fractured my nose was a uniformed cop. As I walked passed him on my way back to the square he (much taller than me) came down in my nose with his elbow. Johnstone ran from some distance away to put the boot into me when I hit the ground, along with a number of other cops. Johnstone dragged me to my feet and was my arresting officer. Soon after he put me in a choke hold when Ciaron saw the blood and went off (verbally). I then wiped some of the blood on Johnstone’s shirt”

Johnstone was a bruiser and a thug who was later convicted of corrupt dealings while working in the consorting squad.

Kangaroo Point Prison
Over 100 refugees are housed in squalid conditions, locked up in Kangaroo Point Detention centre 24/7. Many have been in detention for over 8 years.

They were locked up 24/7 in Kangaroo Point Prison since the introduction of the Medevac Laws were introduced. The landmark Medevac Bill was passed in early 2019.

What is Medevac?

The Medevac Bill is a law that was passed by the Australian Government providing critically sick refugees and people seeking asylum held in offshore detention a pathway to be transferred to Australia for urgent medical treatment. To receive medical evacuation to Australia, two independent Australian doctors must recommend for the sick refugees temporary transfer to Australia and agree that appropriate treatment cannot be provided while the person is in offshore detention in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru.

Before the passing of the Medevac Bill and subsequent formation of the Medevac Group, sick refugees were waiting an average of 2 years (in some cases up to 5 years) for transfer to Australia for medical treatment. The Medevac law ensures there is no longer political interference with the medical assessment and application process to evacuate people on the grounds of urgent medical transfer.

Media Response to the bashing

Unionists at KP Prison

Media coverage of the refugee solidarity actions at the Kangaroo Point Hotel/Prison have been patchy and often misleading. There are two governments at play, the federal government that repealed the Medevac laws and the state government that passed the Peaceful Assemblies Act 1992.

The Guardian reporter said the victim of police assault was wearing ‘a purple baseball cap’ in his report of the incident. In fact the man was wearing a National Tertiary Education Union cap. This is a salient fact because it shows that unions have been represented at the protests – including the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), the NTEU, the Retail and Fast Food Workers union.

The Guardian went on to report that the unionist “is seen in the video grabbing at a security fence seconds before a person who appears to be a police officer approaches from behind and appears to punch him.” That is not what the video shows. The unionist walks away from the fence and only then does police officer Giddins attack him knocking him to the ground with sufficient force that he later required medical assistance at a local hospital. Giddins is identified in another video moments after assaulting the man on the ground and bystanders who are trying to film his badge number.

Labor Party Government response
The Labor party will do nothing about this till after the election this Saturday. Snr Cnst David Giddins may be expendable to the government and more senior police. He may be given some minor penalty.

Of course the Qld state election will have a bearing on the outcome. It is looking likely that the election will deliver a hung parliament. There may be as many as 6 members sitting on the cross benches in the new parliament with ALP and LNP each holding similar numbers of seats. This may lead to a minority government with the abysmal sitaution at Kangaroo Point swept under the carpet for another three years.

Previously, all police, including the Commissioner, and the Beattie Labor government knew that Sgt Chris Hurley who killed Mulrunji Doomagee was a murderous thug. Yet police, their Minister and the DPP stood behind him.

Until he started punching other police, that is.

Ian Curr
Paradigm Shift
4ZZZ Fridays at Noon
0407 687 016
28 October 2020

Footage emerges of Queensland police officer apparently punching protester at refugee rally

5 thoughts on “Police assault unionist standing up for refugee rights

  1. Footage has circulated on social media of a National Tertiary Education Union member being assaulted by a police officer at the Kangaroo Point refugee rally on Sunday afternoon. The man, Jeff Rickertt, a 56-year-old university librarian, is seen holding a fence when a police officer violently attacks him. Rickertt was hospitalised overnight and released from the Mater on Monday afternoon.
    NTEU Queensland Secretary, Michael McNally states:

    “I was shocked and appalled to see Jeff attacked like that. The footage is really short and you can’t see what is happening before the incident, but there is no possible excuse for this excessive use of force.”

    “Jeff just appears to be holding the fence when he is attacked from behind, while not apparently constituting a threat to anyone.”

    “Jeff has been protesting for a long time against the festering sore that has been created by the indefinite detention of refugees in terrible conditions.”

    “It’s totally inappropriate that they are locked up in an inner-city motel that’s not fit for purpose. I bet that the police don’t want to have to be there either, though that’s no excuse for violence. It’s a toxic situation created by inhumane border protection policy.”

    Media Release:
    Posted 27 October 2020 by Michael Evans (NTEU National Office)

    Media Comment:
    Michael McNally, Secretary, NTEU Queensland – 0423 538 721


  2. Friday at 5 PM

    Emma Miller Place
    Roma St, Brisbane

    Public · Hosted by Refugee Solidarity Meanjin and Refugee Action Collective Queensland RAC

    Gather in the square.

    Hear from some of the people locked in these cramped rooms indefinitely.
    And then we’ll march somewhere and take action 😉

    These people are locked in cramped little hotel rooms.
    No room for exercise, no fresh air, barely any sunlight.
    The idiots in charge call them APODs (Alternative Places of Detention). That’s a way of avoiding saying prisons.
    But they’re even worse than prisons—they’re concentration camps, with no charges laid on the people inside, no convictions, and no release date.
    Do something about it.

    Hundreds of people are locked in hotel rooms made into makeshift prisons across the continent.
    120 people—the #KP120—are locked up in Kangaroo Point. Over 60 more are locked up down in Naarm, so-called Melbourne, and more elsewhere in other cities.

    The Central Apartment Group (Kangaroo Point), the Mantra (Preston, so-called Melbourne), and the Meriton are all franchises that have agreed to turn their hotels into concentration camps for money.

    They’ve been there for over a year. Before that they were in offshore concentration camps for over six years.
    They were put in camps over seven years ago just for trying to find a safe place to live, just for fleeing misery, and for doing so by boat.
    They’re sick from living in squalid conditions offshore, so over a year ago they were evacuated here for medical treatment.
    We locked them in hotel rooms, threw away the key, and denied them medical care.
    Are you going to let them do that in your name?



    Read more:
    RISE: https://www.riserefugee.org/ozhotelprisons/
    The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/…/how-an-inner-city-motel…
    CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/…/australia-manus…/index.html
    This action will take place on the stolen lands of the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples, whose sovereignty over the land we live on was never ceded. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.


  3. “The safety of all Queenslanders is taken seriously and is first and foremost in all our actions” – Assistant Commissioner Brian Conners


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