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'I thought he was going to die.' Brooke Boney's grandfather was taken into police custody.

Brooke Boney has spoken about her fear during an incident where her grandfather was taken away by police at a football game.

Today show entertainment reporter and Gamilaroi/Gomeroi woman Boney, and Nine News sports reporter and Kamilaroi man Jake Duke, appeared on the Today show to discuss the footage of a NSW police officer kicking the feet out from under an Indigenous teenager during an arrest on Monday.

It comes as Australians rally against racial injustice and police brutality, following week-long protests and riots across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer held a knee to his neck while Floyd called out for breath.

Brooke Boney recalls her fear during an experience with police on the Today show. Post continue below video.

Video via Channel 9

Video of the Sydney teen’s arrest shows the teen telling a police officer; “I’ll crack you in the f***ing jaw bro” before he is thrown to the ground.

The officer can be seen kicking his feet out from under him, with the teenager falling face first onto the ground, where he is knelt on and handcuffed.

A bystander can be heard yelling, “You just slammed him on his face. He’s in pain”.

NSW Police are investigating the incident.

Boney said watching the footage made her “feel sick”.

“It made me feel absolutely awful. I grew up in Housing Commission so I have seen it all my life. I think Will Smith put it excellently the other day, that racism isn’t getting worse, now it is just getting filmed. What we’re seeing there is the lived experience of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There wouldn’t be an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who hasn’t been affected in some way or another by this sort of violence, deaths in custody and been deeply affected by the pictures coming out of the US.”

Listen: Mia Freedman interviews Brooke Boney on No Filter. Post continues after audio.

Boney, whose cousin is a police officer, recalled her own experiences with the authorities, who she said “do an incredible job in some communities”, but “there are other communities where they can do a much better job”.

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“I think that’s part of the issue, we do need more Indigenous people in the police force,” she said.

“But seeing that vision there and seeing stories that I’ve covered myself before, experiences that I’ve had, I know that sometimes police are heavy-handed when it comes to Aboriginal people.

“One of the experiences that I had at the footy a few years ago, Muswellbrook Rams, my family’s really heavily involved [with the team], the police frog marched my 72-year-old grandfather out. And I can tell you now that every single one of us thought he was going to die, either of a heart attack or they were going to do something to him.

“They said he was being drunk and disorderly. My grandfather doesn’t drink.

“Tell me if that would happen to any of your grandfathers,” she said to Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon. “It wouldn’t.”

Boney said Australia needed to “stop pretending everything is okay and that racism doesn’t exist because it does.

“The longer we pretend that it doesn’t, the longer it is going to take us to reconcile. It is Reconciliation Week. Instead of seeing pictures of 250,000 people walking across the Harbour Bridge in unity, what are we seeing? A police officer belt up a young kid.”

brooke boney today
Image: Channel 9.

When asked if he had any hope for change, Duke said he "absolutely" did.

"Look at Instagram last night, people are getting the message.

"It shouldn't take an American almost civil war for us to talk about this. It is about looking at the bigger picture. Why are Aboriginal people more likely to have issues with the police? It is about opportunity.

"As Brooke said with her grandparents, my grandfather grew up in a small remote community where he had to wear a dog tag because he was restricted movement in town. My father wasn't allowed in the local pool because of the colour of his skin. These are not places with great opportunity with Indigenous people.

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"My father married a white woman from a wealthy family. That's the difference between me sitting here and potentially being in these communities where there are issues and you are far more likely to be involved with police and crime."

Boney agreed: "We're the lucky ones and still had experiences like that. Imagine what life is like for people who don't look like us or sound like us. You can't tell me that their lives aren't harder. We die earlier, we have less education opportunities, less employment opportunities. For some Aboriginal people, life is grim, we need to talk about that and acknowledge it so we can move forward."

In April 2019, Boney spoke to Mia Freedman on the No Filter podcast about the backlash she faced for sharing her views on mainstream breakfast TV.

"I genuinely believe the things that I say, and I think that that’s why it makes it easy to say them. It’s difficult to sometimes hear the pushback. But I would say that the thing that I have in common with the people who do push back, or who do say nasty things, is that their love for this country is as deep as mine. And we just have different ways of expressing it," she explained.

She said Australia was the best country in the world, but it could do better.

"We can be better by not owning the things that have happened in the past, but acknowledging the hurt that they've caused and that it's more difficult for some people than it is for others. And that's not because I'm Aboriginal and someone else isn't, or that someone else grew up poor and someone didn't. It's that the things that have been done to us continue to affect us.

"And that's why there aren't any other Aboriginal people on commercial breakfast television, because it's a bloody hard slog. It's not easy to overcome the things that come with being Indigenous."

If you have the means to do so, you can actively help the Black Lives Matter cause in Australia and the United States by donating to organisations working towards racial justice, such as the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance and the Justice for David Dungay fund to support the family of David Dungay Junior, an Aboriginal man who died in a Sydney jail. You can also donate to the Black Lives Matter Global Network here.

If you can, consider regularly donating to Indigenous-run organisations and First Nations causes.

Other active ways to help include signing petitions, attending peaceful protests, listening to BIPOC, raising their voices, educating yourself on racism and privilege and ensuring we are all taking part in the conversation to dismantle systemic racism.

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Feature image: Channel 9.

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