Three Indigenous boys who were coaxed into cars, dumped at a dark industrial estate and threatened with mutilation by rogue cops speak out for the first time
A trio of Indigenous boys who allege police coaxed them into cars, threatened them with mutilation and dumped them at an isolated industrial estate have broken their silence for the first time in 26 years.
Speaking on the Thin Black Linepodcast, the now fully grown men stated they were deliberately targeted by Queensland Police in 1994 when they were aged12, 13 and 14.
They allege that six officers drove them from Brisbane's Fortitude Valley to the industrial suburb of Pinkenba, 12km from the CBD, in threeseparate police vehicles.
Despite not committing a crime, the boys agreed to get in the marked cars because it was a particularly cold night and they wanted to get home.
But it soon became apparent that they weren't being taken in for any particular reason, as the three cars whirled past the nearby police station.
'They (police) ignored me a couple of times and then I kicked out, so one of them said to me "Oi, stop banging on the windows or I'll pull over here",' one of the men, who cannot be named, said.
'I was then like, where are we going?'
The boys were taken to Pinkenba - a suburb scattered with barbed wire fencing and murky waterways - where the officers allegedly made a number of threats.
They included cutting off one boy's fingers and throwing the children in freezing water.
'They took [the 13-year-old] up to the bridge, and they said they was gonna throw him off, and then we heard a splash. I thought it was him - and I just started shaking then,' said one of the other men involved.
The men told investigators from the Criminal Justice Commission at the time that police instructed them to remove their shoes and throw them into nearby bushland.
Then they ordered them to make their own way home and drove away.
A few days after theincident, Jim Banaghan, the Queensland Police Union's city branch president, made a statement defending the actions of police.
'The officers thought that, rather than charging them, it was best to drive them away and give them the chance to reflect on their misdemeanours and hopefully see the light,' he said.
'They (police officers) now realise it was the wrong thing to do and have put their hand up.'
An investigation was conducted by theCriminal Justice Commission, andsubsequently all six officers involved were charged with three counts each of deprivation of liberty - kidnapping.
But in February 1995 the six officers were cleared of any misconduct.
Central to the decisionwas a failure by the prosecution in court to demonstrate that the boys did not get into the three police cars willingly.
Four of the six officers involved in the case continue to work for Queensland Police.