While I remain careful not to dispute the learned Magistrate’s findings of fact, the following incident warrants a good forensic review. Or at least as forensic as one can, given the biased reportage of the proceedings.
In May 2019, two officers (Follington and Brown) were checking ID’s at the Golden Fleece Hotel in Liverpool. The law requires anyone reasonably suspected of being a minor to state their name, residential address, date of birth, and produce evidence of age either at the scene or later at a police station. The accused Anya Bradford said she didn’t have ID, told police to “fuck off… grunts“, then started walking toward the exit.
The penalty for failure to comply with the officers’ direction is a $2200 fine. The law explicitly provides that minors are NOT to be arrested for this offence. What it doesn’t do is explain how Follington and Brown were meant to establish Bradford’s identity (to issue her with the fine) after she told them to fuck off and tried to walk away.
There’s cctv of what happened next, but I’ve only seen a second or so. The media report Follington grabbing Bradford by the arm (not by the throat as she alleges) and a “brawl” ensues. While three people maketh not a brawl, ABC’s Mark Reddie claims Bradford’s head was “slammed” into an ATM but says nothing about the kicks and strikes she aimed at police.
Bradford broke free and ran down the street to the parole office where she had an appointment. She was first approached in the foyer by Brown, who had his taser drawn. ABC’s Mark Reddie claims Brown tasered her again in the foyer (false) and also sprayed her (maybe) before Follington “continued to attack her“.
The cctv rebuts this. There’s no evidence to support Bradford’s lie, that Brown “sprayed me from head to toe… laughing“.
You can see Brown’s taser cartridge dangling by the wires as he walks into the foyer. I don’t understand why he’s still pointing it if he hasn’t reloaded a fresh cartridge. Nonetheless, cctv confirms Brown had already tried to taser Bradford at the hotel, not in the foyer as alleged by ABC’s Mark Reddie.
When Follington arrives, they haul Bradford out of the lift back into the foyer. Follington is clearly using substantial force. He slams her into the opposite wall, then onto the ground. After that, Follington remains upright controlling Bradford’s leg, as she is clearly kicking at him. He never had his knee on her chest, as she claims, so that she “struggled to breathe“.
Brown is down on his knees wrestling to control Bradford’s upper body. If he used his capsicum spray here, it’s just off camera and I couldn’t see it. Otherwise, he hasn’t used it yet. You can see him reaching for his cuffs; but there’s absolutely no evidence of Brown “throwing punches to my face” as Bradford alleges. He didn’t punch her. More lies.
When she’s quieted, Follington and another officer haul Bradford to her feet, you can see that she’s resisting her arrest and Follington again gets physical. He pushes his forearm against her face; but there is some evidence (from Bradford herself) that she was spitting at police. There’s nothing, however, that resembles Bradford being “on a leash, like I was a dog, then he dragged me out … laughing.” I call bullshit to that as well.
The learned Magistrate found Bradford was under no obligation to provide her ID. In other words, the cops failed to prove they reasonably suspected her of being underage. RSA rules require staff to check anyone “apparently under the age of 25” to verify their age before serving them alcohol. But Follington made a mess of it. He also suggested her failure to make eye contact made him suspect she had a warrant.
Things went from bad to worse when it became apparent Follington had given false evidence to justify his actions. He is now the accused, looking at gaol time while Bradford sues the state for the usual trifecta, publicly spouting the usual rant about cops targeting trangender people.
Follington fucked up, absolutely. Lie on oath, expect to hit the dock. But Bradford is also a violent, bald-faced liar. Yet we have a 60yo white male cop looking at gaol time for perjury, in while a transgender woman can lie her ass off and walk away with a big, fat cheque?
I guess that’s why critics call it the ‘justice for criminals’ system — because there’s bugger-all justice in it for anybody else.