POLICE officers who dragged a drunken driver from his car and b More..ashed him with their fists, boots and batons are being investigated by the NSW Police Professional Standards Command and the NSW Ombudsman.
The investigation will determine whether unjust force was used during the arrest of Mount Druitt man Sione Peaua, 43, who was beaten by as many as five police officers after a 45-minute car chase on May 25 last year.
Video footage from a police patrol vehicle and the Polair police helicopter was tendered in court on Friday during Peaua's trial for serious traffic offences.
SEE THE FOOTAGE BELOW, RIGHT
The videos show Peaua being dragged from his four-wheel drive after it hit a power pole, then being punched, kicked and bashed with retractable batons as he struggled on the ground.
Gallery: See Peaua's horrific injuries.
Peaua, a Tongan father of six who is a boilermaker and local rugby league coach, had a blood-alcohol reading of 0.13 when he went on a high-speed rampage through Mount Druitt and Rooty Hill in a Toyota LandCruiser.
For the early part of the chase - during which speeds of 145km/h were reached - Peaua had his six-year-old daughter in the vehicle.
On Friday, he was sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to driving with a suspended licence, mid-range drink-driving and dangerous driving.
Police prosecutor Alan Baghurst unsuccessfully argued in court that incriminating video footage should not be released to the public and described it as "not a pretty sight''.
He said both sets of footage were being investigated by the NSW Police Internal Affairs unit.
Ian Lloyd, QC, representing Peaua, told the court both sets of video were the subject of a NSW Ombudsman's inquiry. Peaua would be making a statement to the inquiry, Mr Lloyd said.
The court heard that Peaua did not receive any lasting injuries from the beating.
Mr Lloyd, however, called it a "savage and unjustified attack''.
A statement from Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione's office said the investigation had been initiated by police and was being ``closely oversighted by the NSW Ombudsman''.
Both videos were tendered to the court, along with photographs of Peaua's injuries. He suffered severe bruising to his upper arms and thighs, as well as an injury to his hand and left forearm.
The Sunday Telegraph understands Peaua is considering launching a civil action against police in relation to the injuries.
It is also understood a female constable who was at the scene contradicted statements by other officers that Peaua had resisted arrest and assaulted police before they used force to subdue him.
Two charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police were dropped by the police prosecutor. Peaua's legal defence received a $41,000 cost order as a result.
A fact sheet tendered to the court said Peaua had also been sprayed with a "burst'' of capsicum spray, but did not mention him being punched and kicked.
The fact sheet said Peaua grabbed one officer's left foot "with both hands'' and had "continued to pull away from police, swinging his arms around forcefully''.
Several critical moments of the beating were missed because the Polair crew panned the helicopter's camera away as police lashed out and used batons.
Nor is it clear why, at the beginning of the beating, three police officers stand in front of the police patrol car's video camera, obscuring vision of the incident.
The statement from the Commissioner's office says: "Standard operating procedure for police helicopters involved in pursuits is to resume patrol once an offender is in custody.''
In the sound track of the incident, a police officer can be heard saying, "Don't you f****** move'' before telling Peaua to lie on his side.
Peaua then screams, "Get me out of here'' and is told by the officer: "You shut the f*** up, c***, and lay there.''
Peaua: "You know what I'm going to do to you.''
The officer then tells Peaua: "Let go of my f***ing leg.''
Peaua can then be heard screaming, "What the f*** are you doing to me?''
Close examination of the Polair vision reveals four officers standing over a handcuffed Peaua, trying to hold him down, when one officer kicks him twice in the back of the thigh.
The same officer then punches him and kicks him again in the back of the thigh before punching him in the vicinity of his arm.
The vision then cuts to a wide shot, in which two officers can be seen punching and kicking.
As the shot becomes wider, it appears one or more officers is using a retractable baton.
Police began the pursuit when Peaua refused to stop after they saw him hit the kerb while making a turn in Zoe Place, Mount Druitt.
During the chase, Peaua ran seven red lights, drove on the wrong side of the road 11 times and knocked down two give-way signs before slamming into a power pole on the Great Western Highway at Rooty Hill.
Peaua, who was still serving a licence suspension from 2006 and had a prior drink-driving conviction, pleaded guilty to charges of driving with a suspended licence, mid-range drink-driving and dangerous driving.
He was sentenced to four months' jail and suspended from driving until 2014.
Peaua has lodged an appeal, which will be heard in the District Court later this year. He was granted conditional bail By Nick Leys and Brendan Hills
May 31, 2009 12:00am
Tags: Australia, Police, NSW, beating, bashing, DUI, FLIR, polair
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (load item map)
Marked as: approved, featured
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