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Marshall denies involvement in release of Indigenous man

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Premier Steven Marshall says “there’s no way” he was involved in the release of an Aboriginal man who was violently arrested by multiple police officers in Kilburn on Monday evening.

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Marshall made the comments on ABC Radio Adelaide on Wednesday morning in response to a suggestion by Aboriginal rights activist Latoya Rule that the Premier had assisted in the release of Noel Henry.

However, Marshall said he had contacted the Police Commissioner Grant Stevens early on Tuesday after receiving messages from Rule.

Henry appeared to be struck multiple times by a police officer while pinned down in Albert St, Kilburn, on Monday evening.

Confronting footage posted to social media and taken by witnesses showed officers restraining a person when one appears to strike the man.

In the footage, bystanders can be heard screaming for the police to “get off his head” and “let his head up”.

Doris Kropinyeri, who filmed the incident, told InDaily the arrest lasted for about 45 minutes before the man was taken away by police.

Rule said Henry was held at the Port Adelaide overnight before being released without charge.

SA Police said yesterday that Henry was “initially arrested and charged with hinder police, resist police and property damage”.

“As part of the initial review, the man has been released from police custody and the incident is the subject of further investigation,” Police said in a statement.

On Tuesday evening, Rule told ABC Radio Adelaide she had messaged the Premier as well as the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and others on Monday evening “just to try and get some assistance around the issues”.

“Steven Marshall responded this morning (Tuesday) to me just saying that he would have a look at it, an immediate look at it,” Rule said.

“That resulted in charges being dropped due to the I guess pressure that was put on him, that was put on Grant Stevens … we had a successful outcome today.”

Marshall said he did receive messages from Rule and that he’d said he’d investigate the matter “immediately, and then obviously I spoke with the Police Commissioner”.

“In fact, he called me and told me he was conducting an inquiry, so I don’t want to claim any responsibility for the release – that is a matter for police,” Marshall said.

“In fact, it occurred before I’d even spoken with the Police Commissioner, so there’s no way I was involved in that.

“But I do think it’s important we have this inquiry and then we get some answers as soon as possible.”

Marshall said he spoke to Stevens around 7.30am on Tuesday.

An internal investigation was yesterday launched into the incident.

Stevens said the officers concerned had been placed on “administrative duties” while the inquiry was conducted by a senior police officer.

He said he refuted any suggestions of systemic racism within the South Australian Police.

“But with any organisation of 6000 people I think it’s reasonable to assume you have divergent views in that 6000 and it’s my obligation to ensure police officers act respectfully with their interactions with all people,” Stevens said.

“I stand by past comments that the South Australian Police is an organisation of the utmost integrity and the vast majority of police officers act in accordance with our regulations and the law.”

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