Posted by & filed under City Hub.

The NSW Police Force has launched an internal investigation into allegations by a transgender woman that she was assaulted by officers from Redfern Local Area Command (LAC).

Indi Edwards, who identifies as female and will soon have gender realignment surgery, said the incident occurred at her Alexandria home when she phoned crisis support centre, Lifeline.

“I called Lifeline after being rejected by my family when I told them about my surgery,” Ms Edwards, a transgender activist, said.

“While I was talking to Lifeline, the call dropped out because the
battery on my cordless phone went flat,” she said. Ms Edwards said she placed the phone back in its cradle to recharge it, and intended calling Lifeline back, but within ten minutes there was “loud banging” at her door.

Ms Edwards said four police officers charged into her apartment when she answered the door. When she insisted they leave, she was roughly thrown onto her bed, held down and handcuffed, then dragged out of
her apartment and thrown into a paddy wagon, she alleges.

“It was absolutely humiliating because I was half naked and the whole street could see,” she said. “I was freezing cold, dragged through the rain with hardly any clothes on.”

Ms Edwards was taken to Concord Hospital, approximately fifteen kilometres away, and released shortly afterwards, when a mental health team assessed her as posing no risk to herself or others.

Police did not lay any charges against Ms Edwards, who said she sustained numerous bruises from the officers’ rough treatment and from “rolling around the back of the paddy wagon every time they turned a corner or stopped at a red light”.

“I couldn’t hold myself steady because they handcuffed my arms behind my back,” she said.

She further claimed that officers referred to her as “he” and “him”, except in front of medical professionals, when they used the pronouns “she” and “her”. “They were trying to rile me up,” she said.

While the incident occurred almost three months ago, Ms Edwards said she had not gone to the media earlier because police had promised
a thorough investigation. “But it seems now they’ve swept the whole thing under the carpet,” she said.

The allegations have sparked concern from equality campaigners.

Equal rights activist Gary Burns urged senior police to mount “a thorough, open and impartial investigation into these very serious allegations.”

Dr Tracie O’Keefe, sexologist and spokesperson for Sex and Gender Education (SAGE) Australia, was perturbed by the apparent lack of confidentiality surrounding Ms Edwards’ call to Lifeline.

Dr O’Keefe added that it was vital for police to be trained in dealing with sex and gender diverse (SGD) people.

“The SGD groups are very diverse and officers must be trained in this area of knowledge,” she said.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the matter was being investigated. “Redfern [LAC] has received a complaint about an incident that occurred in April,” said the spokesperson

“The matter is now under investigation and is being oversighted by the Professional Standards Manager at Central Metropolitan Region.”

  • Janice Trohn

    How is it that someone like Indi calls a hotline because she is already traumatized from her family rejecting her and the next thing she gets is two barbaric goons capturing her and dragging her off like a rabid dog. All she wanted were some kind words and helpful guidance. There is no reason for a human being to be treated this way and even a mere apology wouldn’t come close to covering the pain, misery, trauma and embarrassment these so called public servants caused her!

  • Elisabeth White

    You stole my words Janice… these police should have this written on their records and counted out of future promotions… disgusting :( Ellie

  • Dominique

    Sue their asses off. AAARRRGGGHHH.

  • sidney from waterloo

    and this is why i wont call or go to redfern or any police for help regardless of what happens to me…. the police just dont understand full stop

  • leece johnson

    Discusting I thought australian police were more understanding that other countrys.

  • Felicity

    Thank you for exposing this – these things need to be exposed for things to change. There is no excuse for police to be bashing trans people in Sydney in the 21st Century. In fact there is no excuse for police to be bashing ANYONE. I look forward to the results of the “internal investigation”.

  • http://gazzajlorenz@hotmail.com Gary John Lorenz

    I can’t really believe this sort of thing is still happening. But unfortunately this kind bad behavior by any police should NOT be TOLERATED at all. Nobody today right now in this day and age should NOT TOLERATE this kind or any other kind of bad or ill treatment from any Police Service at all. Just because the Police are in either in uniform and/or plain clothes, guns, baton, handcuffs and a torch and their Police Identification either on or off duty for any matter it does NOT give them the right to abuse their Power of Authority and/or use UNREASONABLE Brutal Force on anybody as citizens at all. The Police for starters have NO warrant for this transsexual person of Ms Indi Edwards or to enter her place. Ms Indi Edwards has NOT done anything wrong and/or illegal and being treated like a criminal or a convicted felon is totally Unjustifiable, Disgusting, Despicable, Degrading, Heart Breaking, Illegal, Unlawful, Brutal, Humiliating, Criminal. I hope Ms Indi Edwards takes legal action and she should sue the NSW Police Service very BIG time in COMPENSATION for this incident. These Police Officers who are involved in this incident should be FIRED as in SACKED from the NSW Police Service and should NOT be hired for employment by any/all other Australian Police Services. These Police Officers have given their other Police work colleagues and the NSW Police Service a very BAD name and reputation and also DISCREDIT and TARNISH the GOOD name/s of themselves as Police Officers on top of that because of their loutish behavior in which is totally UNACCEPTABLE and Totally NOT ON by or for any community. TAX PAYERS are OUTRAGED and are NOT very HAPPY about this incident at all. Good Luck to you Ms Indi Edwards and you have my and our community support and you certainly DON’T deserve to be treated like this by any Police Service at all. God Bless you SISTER/SISTA Indi Edwards to get over this trauma. It doesn’t surprise me at all if this incident is HOMOPHOBIC Related at all.

  • Mallema

    What a horrendous and disturbing story! I really feel for you Indi. I live in the same area and I’m wondering why they took you to Concord and not RPA? … and what happened to the GLBT liaison officer at local police?

    scary thought: it could happen to anyone! I have anxiety and I’ve been going through a very difficult time.. I was thinking of calling life-line tonite but after hearing about Indi’s story it’s put me off reaching out to LL.

    Another crucial point is that the local mental health (crisis) teams are useless, underfunded and uninterested! They can ONLY help you if you are living on the street or have already been hospitalised for mental health reasons. (TRUE!)

    So it seems that the ‘overflow’ is being heavy-handedly dealt with by local police. If there were better local support services maybe we wouldn’t be calling life line (who have now lost ALL credibility re: confidentiality!… did the officers know the person was Trans before they arrived? Did the ones filled with the most hate/phobias volunteer for that callout? If they didn’t already know, how come they chucked a spazz when they did realise?

    Why is it called ‘resisting’ or ‘not co-operating’ when someone says they don’t want intruders in their house or they dont’ need to go to hospital half naked and against their will?

    All very very wrong! One would assume if LL’s motivation for ‘sending the cops round’ …was because they thought that Indi’s sudden silence on the phone/hang up etc.. meant she may be ‘in danger’ of ‘self-harm’ .. or ‘other’? However if that was the case/suspicion etc…. that does not explain or warrant the extreme ‘thuggery’ that took place!

    Ok let’s see if I have this right: So…if I am distressed enough to call Lifeline and I suddenly go quiet or the line goes dead (for whatever reason for less than 10 mins) that is reason for LL to call the cops round to ‘detain’ me ‘under any means necessary’?

    wtf? ummm… the lesson here i think has to then be: NEVER EVER open the door to ANYONE unless you have a very good reason for doing so… even if they are the police. You don’t have to let them in! its’ harder for them to enter if the door is closed. They need a valid reason to break a door down and “reasonable suspicion” i think usually refers to car searches or weapons searches? Not sure, but if you are coherent and lucid and answer (through the closed door): “I am safe, thankyou, i have a friend coming over to take care of me and I dont’ need any help now, there is no cause for alarm.”

    Last resort: calling the police on the police.. “hey someone’s hammering on my door and harassing me, they are extremely aggressive, can you send the police round to make them stop please!.. no I dont’ know who they are, they sound really savage, I’m not opening the door.”

    I know its’ not funny, but that’s about how nonsensical it is!….who do you call when the police are the enemy? it shouldn’t be that way! I hope they investigate the crap out of it! and Most of all, hope you’re ok Indi.

    be safe all