23 October 2020

'Not unusual' for convicted cop to still be at work: union

| Hannah Sparks
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Senior Constable Murray and Patrick Little

Senior Constable Murray pushes Indigenous man Patrick Little against a wall while in his custody. Image: Screenshot.

The NSW Police Association says the future of a Goulburn policeman who remains on restricted duties after being convicted of assault is yet to be decided. The association said it was not unusual for a police officer to continue to work until workplace processes were followed.

Senior Constable James Iain Murray, 38, remains on restricted duties while his employment status is reviewed after he was found guilty of assaulting an Indigenous man in his custody in Goulburn.

However, a NSW Police Association spokesperson said the matter should be “dealt with expeditiously” to provide the constable and the public with closure.

“It’s not unusual [for the constable to still be working at this stage],” the spokesperson said. “The NSW Police Force human resources [team] needs to follow its process.

“A conviction has been recorded and now the workplace needs to follow its process on what that means, and we hope to be informed at the same time as it’s concluded.”

Footage obtained by ABC’s 7:30 program shows Senior Constable Murray pushing the then 18-year-old Indigenous man Patrick Little against a wall while holding the back of his neck with his right hand and throwing him to the floor before dragging him into a cell.

The bottom half of Mr Little’s body hits the side of a cell door as he is thrown to the ground.

Initially, the footage shows Mr Little walking out of the police vehicle voluntarily. It’s not clear why Senior Constable Murray suddenly pushes Mr Little against the wall.

Mr Little can be heard calling Senior Constable Murray an “asshole” and “piece of shit” after he pushed him against the wall and while they struggle towards the cell.

Mr Little also told Senior Constable Murray “you’ve lost your job, brother” after he was thrown to the floor. Senior Constable Murray then tells Mr Little to “shut up”.

Patrick Little being thrown to the floor

Patrick Little’s lower body hits the side of a cell door as he is thrown to the floor.

Goulburn Local Court found Senior Constable Murray guilty of two counts of common assault on Tuesday (20 October) despite the officer maintaining his innocence, local media reported.

In court, Senior Constable Murray said that while the footage did not look good, it did not tell the whole story and claimed there was ongoing resistance and violence from Mr Little.

Mr Little was arrested by Senior Constable Murray and another police officer after fighting with his cousin outside a Goulburn club on 12 January 2019. Little was charged and pleaded guilty to affray.

However, Magistrate Susan McGowan said Senior Constable Murray’s explanation about the events was “clearly inconsistent” with what police footage showed.

Senior Constable Murray was fined $2500 and had a conviction recorded. He has worked at Goulburn Police Station since the night of the assault.

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on The RiotACT.

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