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Incidents of police brutality continue to rise and draw attention in other parts of the world, perhaps because the citizens in those parts are not yet desensitized. Canada, for instance, appears not far behind the U.S. in unnecessary violations. The policing attitude grows insidious in some parts of the UK and draconian in the land down under.

Speaking of Australia, a recent incident against a possible whistleblower officer highlights abuse that goes far beyond run-of-the-mill brutality. Not only is there evidence of a brutal beating, but also a cover-up and now an attempt to harshly punish the officer who may have leaked crucial video evidence.

Noa Begic, a 22-year-old, was beaten by officers while handcuffed  in the Surfers Paradise police station basement in January 2012. Said officers had to lift Begic in order to load him into a police van, presumably for medical treatment. His only charges were public nuisance and obstructing police. Begic received a settlement, but that didn’t mean the truth about the brutal bashing ever surfaced until recently.

The four officers involved, including a senior-sergeant who is seen washing the blood away in the CCTV footage below, hardly faced any consequences at all. The same cannot be said for the Gold Coast Sergeant alleged to have leaked raw footage of the event.

Indeed, this summer, Sergeant Rick Flori, a 25-year veteran, was formally charged with misconduct in public office after being summoned to police headquarters in Brisbane. The department called the footage “inappropriately obtained.” The maximum penalty is seven years in jail. If that weren’t serious enough, his home was raided by Ethical Standards Command officers. This ongoing case has caught the attention and ire of Australians who won’t let it go.

Begic, who is still not fully recovered, said it would be disgrace of the person who exposed the beating were punished.

How can this happen?

Sydney Criminal Lawyers highlights this conveniently written code:

Section 91A of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 makes it an offence for a public officer, including a police officer, to release information gained as a result of his or her office, or to perform or fail to perform a function of office, or to make an omission in abuse of the authority of office.

Prosecution must prove that the “act was done with the intention of dishonestly gaining a benefit for themselves or another person, or dishonestly causing a detriment to another person.” But what about the detriment of Begic and others like him?

For whatever reason this vaguely worded code went into effect, it should not prevent the pursuit of truth in any criminal case such as the shocking scene above. IF Flori really did send this footage to journalists, he should be revered as brave against corruption, not held captive as a threatening example to others who may wish to stand with him.

You’ll be glad to know that in Australia, he is considered a hero by the people whether he blew the whistle or not, as he stands accused either way. The Crime and Corruption Commission has launched an inquiry into the department, but it is the same body that did not discipline the officers involved in the abuse.

Council of Civil Liberties Deputy President, Terry O’Gorman, who lodged a complaint to the Crime and Corruption Commission said:

How is it that the police who were shown on the video as belting the crap out of this particular person have not been charged and yet the person who has leaked it is now being charged with an of offense which could put him in jail?

However, it’s not over yet. Flori now faces other unrelated charges. He has countered with a case over travel reimbursement when he was compelled to relocate to another department, and then suspended. The main case has been adjourned to reconvene on September 18th.

Written by Amanda Warren – Activist Post

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