Footage of a now suspended mayor sitting on top of an Aboriginal child in a shocking ‘citizen’s arrest’ has sparked calls for legal action to be taken against him.
Jeffrey McLaughlin, Mayor of the Barkly Regional Council, in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, was filmed sitting on the back of a young boy after making what he claims was a citizen’s arrest on August 21.
Mr McLaughlin said the child had tried to break into his home.
A 61-year-old man who was with Mr McLaughlin at the time allegedly made threats towards the boy and has been charged with assault.
‘I’ll sit here as f**king long as I have to,’ Mr McLaughlin is heard saying in the video.
Footage of a now suspended mayor sitting on top of a child in a shocking ‘citizen’s arrest’ has sparked calls for legal action to be taken against him
‘One of you guys is going to get killed. I told you the other day. You’re really lucky you’re with me. We don’t want to live like this anymore.’
The other man meanwhile can be heard saying, ‘I’d love to stamp on your head’.
He then lifts his leg up as if he was going to kick the child who cries out ‘go away’.
‘Keep your f**king head down or I’ll stamp on it,’ the man says.
‘If I had my way I wouldn’t be ringing the cops. You’re lucky I don’t punch you right in the head.’
The man then makes a fist with his hand before shoving his boot into the child’s head.
A 61-year-old man has been charged with assault over the incident
After the footage circulated, Mr McLaughlin defended his actions.
‘The force I used to apprehend the youth was entirely reasonable in the circumstances,’ he wrote on Facebook.
‘I immediately called NT Police and requested their attendance at the scene. Whilst the spontaneous remarks and conduct of the other adult male in the footage can rightly be described as inappropriate, they are not mine and I did not encourage them.
‘As soon as police arrived, I complied with their directions and NT Police took the youth into their custody.
‘My actions were neither illegal nor inconsistent with my position as the Mayor of the Barkly Regional Council. It is disappointing that this footage has been released for self-evidently political purposes.
‘I will not be resigning from my position as the Mayor of the Barkly Regional Council.’
The parents of the boy have since signed a letter that has been sent to the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) by Barkly councillor Elliot McAdam.
The NAAJA offers legal services to Aboriginal people in the NT.
‘As a person in high office he should [have] stopped this assault almost immediately, but he didn’t,’ the letter reads, the ABC reported.
Mr McLaughlin (pictured with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese) has resisted calls to resign
‘Any reasonable person would not have sat on my son’s back … for a long time.
‘Mr McLaughlin did not try to stop [the other man] stomping on my son’s head.’
Earlier the mayor had told the publication he knew the child’s family very well, and had spoken to them and ‘did restorative justice’.
The parents have denied this.
Mr McLaughlin and all members of the Barkly Regional Council were suspended in October over ‘fiscal management concerns’.
Mr McLaughlin’s suspension is understood to not be related to the citizen’s arrest.