An Australian police officer has admitted to arresting a trans woman because she didn't say hello or make eye contact with him in a pub.
Senior Constable Mark Follington has been charged with tampering with evidence with intent to mislead a court and four other offences over a 2019 incident.
Anya Bradford was sitting in the pokie room of Liverpool's Golden Fleece Hotel when the 61-year-old officer came in with Probationary Constable Mark Brown.
The two officers were doing a drug patrol and were asking patrons in the pub for their ID.
The Senior Constable approached Ms Bradford and asked for her name, she told him to 'f**k off', said she didn't have her ID and tried to leave, citing a meeting she was due at.
Follington believed Ms Bradford had a warrant out for her arrest, despite that not being the case, and her actions made him suspicious.
"When I was in the room, you could see I was focusing within the room, she had no eye contact with myself," Follington told the Downing Centre Local Court.
"People normally come up and say hello, she was keeping her eyes down. To me, that starts to send a signal to me that this person is trying to hide from me."
Follington was seen on CCTV footage grabbing the woman's arm to stop her from leaving, which caused a scuffle.
Prosecutors investigating the incident claim Follington shoved Ms Bradford's head into an ATM. She kicked the officer and ran into another building.
7News has released the CCTV footage that showed Ms Bradford being pulled out of a lift and being pepper sprayed by another officer.
The Senior Constable is accused of making up the story that was used to arrest Ms Bradford, with prosecutors alleging he suggested the woman assaulted him first, which is why the scuffle broke out.
After the CCTV footage was played in court, Follington admitted that his story didn't stack up with the police report that was filed at the time.
Follington said: "At the time of writing this narrative, I did it to the best of my knowledge without having viewed the (CCTV) footage."
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutor Claire Robinson said in court: "You knew the arrest was unlawful and you had to make up a story about Ms Bradford in order to justify the unlawful arrest and the force used."
He replied: "That is incorrect."
Featured Image Credit: 7News
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