An activist who says she was racially taunted by a Qld police officer is taking action under discrimination laws the federal government wanted to axe.
An Aboriginal activist has lodged a human rights abuse claim against a police officer, using discrimination laws the federal attorney-general had wanted to scrap.
A Queensland police officer used a fake Facebook account to make racially offensive remarks about an Aboriginal rights activist.
The Townsville policewoman allegedly used the alias Anne T Sharia to post racial taunts on Joyce Capewell’s Facebook page Boomerang Justice, which advocates for equal rights and justice for Aborigines.
Lawyers for Ms Capewell lodged a complaint against the officer and the Queensland Police Service with the Australian Human Rights Commission on Thursday afternoon.
Lawyer Peter Black says she’s seeking $250,000 in compensation for the hurt caused by the offensive remarks.
He says the comments were racially offensive and contravened the same section of the Racial Discrimination Act that Attorney-General George Brandis had wanted to wind back after proclaiming that people had the right to be a bigot.
“The comments has caused my client a lot of hurt. They were racially offensive and we will have to show that they were reasonably likely to offend,” Mr Black told AAP.
“We’re using section 18C of the act that the government was going to scrap.”
Before last year’s election, the coalition had promised to repeal section 18C which makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people” because of their race or ethnicity.
However, Prime Minister Tony Abbott dumped the controversial changes earlier this week.
Mr Black said Ms Capewell had information suggesting the officer had posted the offensive remarks while on duty or from a police computer.
“My client alleges that the QPS is vicariously responsible for the actions of the officer,” he said.
However, the QPS said the officer made “inappropriate remarks” while off duty.
“The QPS takes complaints of this nature seriously, not only as a reflection on the specific individual’s conduct but also because of the potential to negatively impact on the confidence of the community in its police service,” police said in a statement on Friday.
The statement said the officer underwent a number of cultural awareness training programs and was relocated to alternative duties in a larger regional centre under “direct supervision”.
A senior police officer from the northern region and the Ethical Standards Command were also investigating “all matters relating to this officer”, police said.
Ms Capewell’s website is also calling for the officer to be sacked.