‘Makes me sick’: Watch host’s emotional message

 

Nine reporters Brooke Boney and Jake Duke teamed up on air this morning to offer a local, Indigenous perspective on the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the US.

Entertainment reporter Boney and sports reporter Duke, both Indigenous Australians, joined Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon at the desk to discuss a shocking video of brutal police force that went viral yesterday - not in the US, but in Surry Hills, Sydney.

The video shows a police officer tripping an Indigenous teen, who lands flat on his face, before arresting him. The officer has since been placed on restricted duties pending an investigation.

Brooke Boney on Today this morning.
Brooke Boney on Today this morning.

Boney said seeing the video "made me feel sick, it made me feel absolutely awful.

"I grew up in a Housing Commission, so I've seen stuff like this my whole life. What we are seeing there is the lived experience of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There wouldn't be an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who hasn't been affected by this sort of violence, by deaths in custody and been deeply affected by the pictures coming out of the US," she said.

Duke said parallels between police brutality in the US and here at home were "obvious".

"Just look at the video and look at the George Floyd video and tell me how they're different. If that kid hits his head and dies, we are talking about the same thing," he said.

Langdon countered that "a lot of people" would look at the video of the Sydney teen being slammed face-first first into the pavement and "say that's not nearly as bad as what happened to George Floyd, a man on the ground for eight minutes who made it very clear he couldn't breathe".

 

Jake Duke: ‘I’m lucky to be here.’
Jake Duke: ‘I’m lucky to be here.’

"But it could have the same result," Duke said. "That's the point we're making. Nine minutes (of a) knee on the neck is terrible, but they could have the same result. It's about whether that's necessary force to apprehend a guy that's not violent."

Boney then shared a personal story from within her own family to demonstrate how Indigenous people are unfairly targeted by the law.

"I know that sometimes police are heavy-handed when it comes to Aboriginal people. One of the experiences that I had at the footy a few years ago … The police frogmarched my 72-year-old grandfather out. Every single one of us thought he was going to die, either of a heart attack or they would do something to him. They said he was being drunk and disorderly. My grandfather doesn't drink. Tell me if that would happen to any of your grandfathers? It wouldn't," she said.

Boney called for "a moment in this country where we stop pretending everything is OK and that racism doesn't exist, because it does".

She continued: "The longer we pretend that it doesn't, the longer it is going to take us to reconcile. It is Reconciliation Week. Instead of seeing pictures of 250,000 people walking across the Harbour Bridge in unity, we are seeing a police officer belt up a young kid."

 

A police officer is under investigation after the forceful arrest of an Aboriginal teen in Surry Hills. Picture: Supplied
A police officer is under investigation after the forceful arrest of an Aboriginal teen in Surry Hills. Picture: Supplied

Duke also shared some of his family history, revealing that his grandfather grew up in a remote rural community "where he had to wear a dog tag because he was restricted movement in town. My father wasn't allowed in the local pool because of the colour of his skin".

He said: "These are not places with great opportunity with Indigenous people. I'm lucky to be here because my father married a white woman from a wealthy family. That's the difference between me sitting here and potentially being in these communities where there are issues and you are far more likely to be involved with police and crime."

Boney finished the conversation with a plea to keep the lines of communication open: "For some Aboriginal people, life is grim, and we need to talk about that and acknowledge it and move forward."

Duke this year penned an opinion piece for the Nine News website examining his own complicated relationship to Australia Day, revealing he used to "run around draped in an Australian flag" and drinking on January 26 each year.

When I was a young man growing up on the Gold Coast, I was the first one out having a drink with my friends on January 26.

"I was uneducated … It is a day of mourning for our people, a day we don't want to celebrate," he wrote.

Duke's opinion piece came a year after Boney made headlines in her first weeks as a reporter on Today with an impassioned argument for changing the date of Australia Day to reflect its painful significance for Indigenous Australians.

 

 

Originally published as 'Makes me sick': Host's emotional message


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