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WA police accused of pointing gun at teens

AAP logoAAP 3/08/2016 By Greg Roberts

The Aboriginal woman who has accused a WA police officer of pointing a gun against the back of the neck of her 14-year-old son says he should be sacked, charged and jailed.

WA police and South Hedland station in particular are under scrutiny over a string of incidents, many involving Aboriginal people, and coming in the wake of a scandal over the treatment of child prisoners in the Don Dale Detention Centre in Darwin.

South Hedland is the police station notorious for the death of 22-year-old Aboriginal woman Ms Dhu, which received national attention when she died of septicaemia and pneumonia after being controversially locked up for two days over unpaid fines in August 2014.

WA police's internal affairs unit is investigating accusations made in a formal complaint by the Aboriginal Legal Service that officers threatened two 14-year-old boys with guns - with a third 14-year-old boy likely to be added - following a short chase in a car that was not stolen but belonged to relatives.

Six underage people in the car had run off on foot before one was caught and had a gun pressed against the back of his neck, the ALS complaint written by lawyer Alice Barter claims.

That boy was never charged, although the driver was for failing to stop and being unlicensed.

The officers were heard saying "Stop crawling away or I'll shoot you with the gun", "Hey don't move or we'll shoot you with the gun. Shut up you want to die".

There are also allegations of a boy being hit and kicked and three boys being later strip searched.

The mother of the boy who allegedly had a gun pressed against him and was threatened with being shot, said her son was traumatised and had been scared, shaking and crying after the incident.

"What if he had pulled the trigger on the back of his head ... they should have talked to them instead of pointing a gun at a 14-year-old boy," the mother, who did not want to be named, told reporters.

Police union president George Tilbury said officers were under significant pressure in South Hedland due to social issues and it was time for a boost in resources.

Police Acting Commissioner Stephen Brown denied Mr Collins' claims of a "toxic culture" at South Hedland but senior police have been there to investigate recently.

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