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Crime

LGBTQ activist launches lawsuit against police after officer beat him at Sydney Mardi Gras

Meka Beresford March 13, 2018
Protest police brutality Sydney Mardi Gras

(Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)

An LGBTQ activist has launched a lawsuit against the New South Wales police force after he says he was attacked by one of their officers at Sydney Mardi Gras.

Bryn Hutchinson is suing for over $275,000 in damages.

He claims that the police are guilty assault, battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution after an incident that happened during Sydney’s Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras in 2013.

Hutchinson was at the annual Pride event and after attempting to cross the famous gay strip, Oxford Street, he was “attacked” by an officer.

The 37-year-old said that when crossing the road, a police officer “hammer-struck” (punched twice) him.

Constable Lee Jennings told Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court that he witnessed the officer, Sergeant Jeffrey Ludkin, hit Hutchinson.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered today to demand an external investigation after a video was released showing a handcuffed parade goer get thrown to the ground by a police officer. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)

Related: Someone tried to tell LGBTQ+ Mardi Gras goers that ‘Jesus saves’

The pair reportedly grappled on the floor, where Ludkin punched the claimant twice in the leg.

Hutchinson says that his head was slammed into the pavement with “excessive” force.

Kate Hutchinson, the claimant’s sister, saw the attack and began to shout at the officer.

She allegedly used offensive language.

Jennings said that she was “intoxicated” and so they fined her.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson was charged with assaulting and resisting a police officer.

The charges were later dismissed by a judge.

Police at Sydney Mardi Gras
Police at Sydney Mardi Gras (Photo by Jon Buckle/Getty Images)

Related: Sydney Mardi Gras celebrates 40 years as first gay couple marry at parade

A witness to the incident reportedly accused the police of police brutality, which Jennings allegedly responded to by telling the onlooker to “make a complaint”.

A video of the incident shows a police officer holding Hutchinson by his throat before slamming his whole body onto the floor and using his foot to hold him on the ground.

The attack left him with bruises covering his body and a feeling of humiliation.

Speaking to SameSame after the incident, Hutchinson explained that he was “hogtied”.

“They were applying weight onto my back and I couldn’t breathe properly. I said I can’t breathe properly, and one of the officers said, ‘If you can talk, you can breathe’. I wasn’t resisting any sort of police intervention but I was really struggling to breathe. They didn’t stop applying the pressure and they had also kicked me.”

He then said that an officer told him he was being charged with assaulting a police officer for wrapping his legs around a police officer during the incident. He said he had no recollection of doing that.

One witness said the incident didn’t seem homophobic, but that he thought the police response was excessive. He said: “This didn’t seem like a gay bashing, but it was because the guy wasn’t cooperating with police they used force … and then it was out of control,” he said.

“I definitely 100 percent saw the kick and stomp. Everyone sort of gasped,” he continued.

More: 2013, attack, Australia, Australia, lawsuit, LGBT, sydney mardi gras

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