South Coast police boss defends arrests after Huskisson Carnival's Australia Day brawl

The officer in charge of the Nowra sector of the South Coast Police District has defended police actions in arresting a teenager after a brawl at a South Coast carnival on Australia Day.

A video of police attempting to arrest the youth at Huskisson Carnival has gone viral on social media, with police receiving both supportive and negative comments over the incident.

Inspector Ray Stynes said he has viewed the video footage of the incident and “fully supports the actions of police on the day”.

The footage shows two officers initially trying to arrest a youth, surrounded by a group of onlookers who yell at officers to let the youth go.

Things escalated as the youth resisted and one officer wrestled with him on the ground as another told onlookers to stay away while brandishing capsicum spray, which was used a number of times.

On two occasions a backpack was thrown at the two officers, striking one in the back and head at one stage.

His partner is seen shielding the officer making the arrest in an attempt to protect him from further attacks. The arrest was completed when a third officer arrived.

“I fully support the police actions,” Inspector Stynes said.

“If people want to make complaints in relation to the incident they can do it through the police complaint process.”

He said a number of young people were arrested on the evening and later released into the care of their parents.

“They will be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act,” he said.

Although it is the second time Huskisson has been embroiled in Australia Day violence, Inspector Stynes said such incidents were a rare occurrence in the Shoalhaven.

“This is extremely rare for the area,” he said.

“I don’t know of it was the combination of the heat or alcohol.”

Police received numerous calls regarding a violent brawl which broke out after the fireworks concluded at the Huskisson Carnival on Friday around 10pm.

Around a dozen police vehicles rushed to the scene, with witnesses saying at least 75 people were involved in the brawl, which erupted in the car park.

One witness said glass bottles and rocks were being thrown in the car park during the incident, with the fight travelling down into the carnival.

Inspector Stynes said there were no further investigations into the incident.

Violent scenes also erupted in Huskisson on Australia Day 2009.

On that occasion approximately 50 people, some draped in Australian flags and drinking heavily, engaged in assaults and throwing bottles at each other near the wharf area.

It led to Shoalhaven City Council, on the urging of then Shoalhaven Police local area commander, Superintendent Wayne Starling, to ban alcohol from 39 council parks and reserves on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Australia Day.