Friday, July 6, 2012

CMC recommends police consider disciplinary action against Qld. officer in Queen St Mall arrest

A SECOND police officer faces repercussions for allegedly using excessive force during the arrest of a homeless man in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall six years ago.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission has recommended disciplinary action be considered against the arresting officer, Constable Robert Kemper, as well as Constable Benjamin Arndt who was found guilty in the Brisbane Magistrate's Court last year of assaulting Bruce Rowe, then 65.

The dramatic arrest of Mr Rowe on July 9, 2006, who was kneed repeatedly by Constable Arndt while he was lying on the ground, was captured by CCTV footage and led to a landmark private prosecution of Arndt.

It was Queensland's first successful private prosecution. Arndt was fined $1000 but no conviction was recorded. The Queensland Police Union paid his fine and unsuccessfully appealed the case in the District Court last year.

Mr Rowe, who has turned his life around and is renting a flat in Ascot, said he was disgusted Constable Arndt remained in the police force.

He welcomed the recommendation of disciplinary action against Constable Kemper for allegations of unlawful arrest and excessive force but remains angry at the justice system.

"Arndt's still out there, as a police officer and the police union paid his fine, it's a joke," Mr Rowe said. Other unrelated allegations brought by Mr Rowe of misconduct by police officers were dismissed by the CMC.

Earlier this year, The Courier-Mail published CCTV footage of a 22-year-old chef, Noa Begic, allegedly being assaulted by police in the Surfers Paradise police station after being arrested for public nuisance and obstructing police.

The charges against Mr Begic have since been dropped by the police and two officers seen in the footage are being investigated by the Ethical Standards Command.

The Queensland Police Service said it was assessing the CMC's report. It said there were a range of disciplinary options available but would not list them.