Police are embroiled in a second racism controversy in as many days after an officer levelled an abusive tirade at an award-winning human rights advocate.
Police are embroiled in a second racism controversy in as many days after an officer levelled an abusive tirade at an award-winning human rights advocate.

Cop stood down over racist social media abuse

SA Police has become embroiled in a second racism controversy in as many days after a sworn officer attacked a refugee and award-winning human rights advocate on social media.

Police have issued an apology for the officer's "abhorrent" racist remarks.

It is the second incident linked to racism that SA Police has been forced to face after two officer's were filmed violently arresting an Aboriginal man at Kilburn on Monday night.

Lawyer Nyadol Nyuon. Picture: Ellen Smith
Lawyer Nyadol Nyuon. Picture: Ellen Smith

On Wednesday, a third officer was no longer on operational duties as police investigated messages sent to Nyadol Nyuon, a well-known voice against racism based in Melbourne.

In the messages, the officer tells Ms Nyuon, who made an appearance on the ABC's Q&A program last Monday, to "stop blaming white man" and "f*** off back to the war torn shithole country you came from".

"Oi fu**stick how's ya criminal brother going?," the first message said.

"He's responsible for his own actions. Stop blaming white man and pulling the race card you ignorant c***.

"If it's so fuc*** bad here f*** off back to the war torn shithole country you came from."

Ms Nyuon was born in an Ethiopian refugee camp and raised in a Kenyan camp before she moved to Australia in 2005 as an 18-year-old refugee.

Since her arrival, Ms Nyuon has gone on to become a lawyer and, in 2018, was recognised with the Australian Human Rights Commission's Racism. It Stops With Me Award for her work against racism.

An SA Police spokesman said "we are sorry for the offence caused by these comments".

"We can confirm that this person is a sworn South Australia Police employee. SAPOL has been providing ongoing support to the employee for a number of personal issues," the statement said.

"There is no tolerance for racism or any behaviour that negatively impacts any section of the community. When we receive allegations of such behaviour they are taken seriously and investigated, with those responsible held to account for their behaviour.

"The comments and views on this personal Facebook account are abhorrent and in no way representative of the values of South Australia Police."

On Monday night, SA Police officers were filmed punching Aboriginal man Noel Henry during an arrest at Kilburn.

An internal police investigation has been launched and two officers involved have been placed on administrative duties.

On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the "vast majority" of officers followed regulations and the law.

"I would refute any suggestion that there is systemic racism within the SAPOL. But, with an organisation of 6000 people, I think it's reasonable to assume you have (different views) amongst that 6000," he said.

"And it is my obligation to ensure police officers act respectfully in their interactions with all people."

Police Minister Corey Wingard said: "I expect the highest standards for the conduct and behaviour of all members of our police force."

"There is no tolerance for racism or any behaviour that negatively impacts any section of the community," he said.

Originally published as Cop stood down over racist social media abuse


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