Two police officers charged with assaulting 92-year-old man with ‘likely dementia’ in Sydney

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun18,2024
Key Points
  • Two NSW police officers have been charged with assaulting a 92-year-old man.
  • The man was allegedly injured as the result of an interaction with the officers, NSW Police said.
  • The officers are due to appear in court in the coming months. Both will be suspended with pay.
The conduct of NSW police will again come under intense scrutiny after two constables were charged with assaulting a 92-year-old man with likely dementia.
The latest incident follows the May 2023 death of a great-grandmother with dementia after she was tasered by an officer at her nursing home while holding a knife.
Police have also launched an investigation into the case of another constable who admitted to giving a fake breath test to the son of a senior officer.

NSW Police commissioner Karen Webb spoke to reporters on Thursday and conceded she was disappointed by the breath-test incident while defending the actions of officers when dealing with a “complex matter” like a dementia case.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb

NSW Police commissioner Karen Webb has defended two officers accused of assaulting a 92-year-old man. Source: AAP / Dan Himbrechts

The two officers were charged after police responded to two triple-zero calls from an elderly woman at a home at Picton, in southwest Sydney, in January.

A 92-year-old man was arrested and handcuffed at the property after what police said was a domestic violence-related incident.

“During that arrest, he was injured and conveyed to hospital,” Webb said, adding that it was likely he had dementia.

“It’s obviously a complex matter when you’ve got someone elderly, someone who has mental decline through dementia or through something else that can’t actually articulate any concerns to police properly,” she said.
The man was admitted to hospital with a fracture to his right elbow and significant bruising to his head and arms.
Following an internal investigation, a constable and senior constable were charged on Wednesday with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The constable faces a further charge of assault, while both officers have been suspended from duty. They will face Campbelltown Local Court in the coming months.

Webb confirmed the officers were wearing bodycams and that she had watched the footage, but she declined to comment further on what it showed.

“Whilst I have my own thoughts and feelings about that, I can’t comment … because I don’t want to prejudice any court matter,” she said, adding that both men were experienced officers.
It would be up to the court to decide if the constables used excessive force, Webb said.
Police responses to call-outs involving elderly or mentally ill people have been under the spotlight after a series of officer-involved deaths, including the tasering of 95-year-old great-grandmother Clare Nowland at nursing home in the southern NSW town of Cooma in 2023.

A senior constable has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter after being charged over her death.

Clare Nowland headshot.

Clare Nowland died in hospital on 24 May 2023, a week after she was tasered at the Yallambee Lodge aged care home in Cooma. Source: Supplied

Another internal police investigation has been launched into the case of a senior constable from regional NSW who admitted to faking a breath test.

The officer was patrolling regional roads in Narrandera, in the state’s southwest, when he pulled over a vehicle about 10.30pm on a Friday in August.
He failed to carry out a proper breath test on the male driver, who was reportedly the son of a more senior officer.

In a statement on Thursday, police said the officer was charged with neglecting his duty and perverting the course of justice but the second, more serious allegation was later dropped.

The officer pleaded guilty to the first charge and is due to be sentenced in Griffith Local Court on Friday.
The senior constable was never suspended from duty and NSW Police failed to issue a public statement about the charges – as is routine for officer-related incidents.
Deputy commissioner Paul Pisanos admitted such incidents eroded community confidence.
“There’s definitely been some breakdown in terms of communication up the line,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.
The charges follow another incident in which a high-ranking officer was accused of crashing a work car in a tunnel while driving drunk in May 2023.

No public statement was issued on that incident, which Webb later put down to it being something that “slipped through the cracks”.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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