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Indigenous Sydney teen ‘tripped’ by police officer describes bloody injuries in court

An Indigenous teenager whose arrest resulted in a NSW Police officer being charged with assault has told a Sydney court he fell unconscious after being “tripped” and was spitting blood because his face hit the ground.

Constable Ryan Barlow, 30, was with two junior colleagues in Ward Park in Surry Hills when they stopped three teenagers in June 2020.

Part of the interaction was filmed on a mobile phone, showing one of the teenagers, then 16, speaking to Constable Barlow before saying he would “crack” the officer in the jaw.

The video shows Constable Barlow then used a technique known as a leg sweep, in which he kicked the complainant’s feet out from underneath him while holding his arms from behind, causing him to fall forwards.

Constable Barlow has pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The teenager told Sydney’s Downing Center Local Court he remembered being “spun around” by the officer before being “tripped” and denied doing anything to resist.

Doctors attend to the boy at St Vincent’s Hospital.(Facebook: Justice for Buddy, Lewis Kelly Jnr)

He recalled his knee hitting the ground first, followed by his shoulder and the cheek area of ​​his face.

In the video, he can be heard making a high-pitched moaning sound while on the ground.

He told the court he was unconscious after he fell and has no memory of what happened until he was sat up, when he recalled spitting blood.

“I don’t even remember making those noises,” he said.

The teenager said he recalled “going off my head” while sitting.

“I just lost it. Got angry, I guess.”

He said Constable Barlow was holding him at the back part of his neck and he told him to stop “squeezing” it, but the officer didn’t.

“He pulled out capsicum spray and told my friends to go away.”

The teenager said he made the comment about cracking the officer in the jaw out of “frustration”, after hearing one of his friends defend himself.

“What were you frustrated about?” Crown Prosecutor Darren Robinson asked.

“That I can’t, you know, go to my own park [without being] harassed by police.”

Mr Robinson earlier told the court an expert in the use of force is expected to testify that the leg sweep technique is not the methodology taught to NSW Police Force officers, however it is not prohibited.

“The prosecution says the force used by the accused was not reasonably necessary under the circumstances,” he said.

Mr Robinson said Constable Barlow gave a version of the incident during an interview which “contradicted” the video, including that the complainant “tensed” his body and attempted to break free.

The court was told the complainant’s injuries included cuts and abrasions to his leg and chin, soreness and pain to his neck, a chipped tooth and bleeding from an injury to the mouth.

Constable Barlow’s barrister, Brent Haverfield, said there would be “an element of self-defence” in the matter.

The hearing, before Magistrate Rami Attia, has been set down for three days.

Under cross-examination, the teenager accepted he was told he was under arrest shortly before the leg sweep.

He also accepted the video showed that while Constable Barlow was behind him, his right leg moved backwards, but denied this was an attempt to kick the officer.

“I don’t accept I was trying to hurt anyone,” he said.