The Guardian November 22, 2000

Legal action may follow man's arrest

by Susan Forde

Kargun Fogarty, a prominent Brisbane dancer and son of senior Queensland 
Government advisor Cheryl Buchanan, was handcuffed and stripsearched when 
police mistook his Walkman for a gun.

Mr Fogarty, 19  who is considering taking legal action over the incident 
 says he was walking through Brisbane city earlier this month with his 
cousin when they were suddenly surrounded by four police cars.

About five police officers got out of their cars with guns drawn, and 
ordered the two youths to lie face down on the ground. Both were handcuffed 
and taken to the nearest police station, in the city centre.

Mr Fogarty, who was returning home from the children's festival, Out of the 
Box, where he had danced all week, asked police why he was handcuffed but 
police didn't respond.

"The way they came at us, it was like we were bombers of something. There 
were cars everywhere, and the police were shouting `Get down! Get down!"  
he said.


"There was this one policeman who looked rather angry. He was staring at me 
and had his gun pointed right at my head.

"As I went down to the ground he kept the gun on my head the whole time. It 
was so frightening  I've never had a gun pulled on me before and it just 
sent shivers up my spine".

Mr Fogarty said he and his cousin were led, handcuffed, through the centre 
of the city by the police officers.

"As soon as we got to the police station they started asking me about a 
firearm. They kept saying `where is your firearm'?", Mr Fogarty said.

"I told them I had no firearm, I don't have a gun, and they took me into a 
room and stripsearched me."

After he was stripsearched, Mr Fogarty was handcuffed again.

Police said a passer-by had reported seeing two young Aboriginal men, one 
with a gun.

Mr Fogarty said he was carrying his Walkman tucked inside the front of his 
shorts, and it was mistaken for a gun.

"The police held my Walkman up when they found it and said I'd stolen it. I 
told them it was my cousin's there's no way I've stolen it", he said. "So 
they said they'd check it out and went and looked at their computer and 
then gave it back to me."

Mr Fogarty, who has danced with the group Jagera Jarjum since he was a 
young boy, said he was regularly stopped and questioned by police when 
walking around the city.

"It's like we're back in the old days when Aboriginal people had to have 
permission to walk around", he said.

"Every time I'm in the city coppers come up and ask us what we're doing 
there, where do we live.

"I go all over the world showing people my culture, doing my corroboree, 
and I never get hassled anywhere. But as soon as I come back home I get 
hassled straight away by the police.

"It's not just happening here, it's happening everywhere. I want to say to 
other young kids that it's happening so that they shouldn't be afraid, if 
this happens to you go to the media and tell the world what they're doing.

"People won't know it's happening unless you tell everyone about it".

Mr Fogarty said his family was seeking legal advice and considering legal 
action against the Queensland Police Service.

A Queensland Police Services spokesman said police had undertaken  an 
internal investigation, which was now being overseen by the Criminal 
Justice Commission.

Police say there was no timeframe on the completion of the investigation.

* * *
The Koori Mail November 15, 2000

Back to index page