Thugs in Blue Uniforms: Raptor Squad Raid Party, Assault Students and Trash House

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Strike for Raptor

The officers making up Raptor Squad, the formerly known as Strike Force Raptor, have long been known to be a bunch of thugs in blue uniforms, equipped with handguns and tasers, who, for some reason, are permitted to run riot, despite laws preventing the use of excessive force.

And Raptor officers have been at it again, harassing and brutalising members of the public. This time it was over a complaint that, god forbid, some young people were playing loud music at a party being held at an inner-city house on a Saturday night.

The first call received by police in regard to the music being played too loud at a Foveaux Street, Surry Hills address came in at 8:30 pm. And the officers down at the station found it a matter of such urgency that they turned up to ask residents to turn down the volume at least an hour later.

As one partygoer, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, told the Murdoch press, those at the residence were well aware that the law stipulates they can play loud music until 12 am, so they kept the party going until 11.50 pm, at which time, they dropped the volume.

NSW police states it then returned at 10.30 pm to issue an official noise abatement notice, and as this was not followed, officers said they’d be back with a warrant.

Either way, at around 12.15 am on 6 October, Raptor Squad officers were sent in to rough up the students, because that’s what they do best.

Raptor Squad parties hard

According to a Reddit post by one attendee at what has been described as the “tamest party”, a group of about 40 gathered to watch a short film in a backyard and hangout, then “at 12:15 am, the cops kicked in the front door and proceeded to assault multiple people”.

The internet is currently flooded with images and footage of Raptor Squad officers doing just that. Most of this was sourced from the Instagram account of Sophie Teo, a famous surgeon’s daughter, who captured what was going on at the party in which she was in attendance.

Footage shows Raptor officers screaming their heads off at the casually dressed young adults to move, over and over again, as they pushed and shoved them. Some of the men are thrown to the ground, with kicks clearly being laid in to a couple of the stunned individuals while they were down.

Another clip shows a group of young people huddled on the floor in a small kitchen are with their hands in the air, as Raptor Squad officers scream at them to “move, get out, move, go”, to which one young woman replies, “We are trying to get out.”

Teo’s photos show a bed completely destroyed, as the Raptor officers tore up the premises looking for the devices that enabled the loud music, in order to seize them. And she also captured a group of officers standing around laughing soon after they’d beat up the crowd.

“Laughing, high fiving after kicking/punching people, breaking someone’s ribs, breaking people’s teeth and pepper spraying everyone,” Teo wrote above the image of the celebrating officers. And she’s not exaggerating, as there are multiple reports that this all took place.

It should be noted that if Raptor officers ever do show up at your house to ensure the suburbanites, who should never have moved into the inner city, can get some sleep, that when they deal with noise polluters, Raptor will use about two to three officers to push around every one individual.

The Goon Squad

“For ‘refusing to turn music down’ the Raptor Squad raided a student party on Sunday,” Australian Greens Senator David Shoebridge posted on Tuesday. “Two 21-year-olds were arrested for ‘hindering police,’ a bed and TVs were broken, the electronic equipment of partygoers was seized.”

“The Raptor Squad are only to be deployed after organised crime, not to bust up a party. This is the threat posed by huge increases in public expenditure to police – they automatically become the answer to every situation.”

Strike Force Raptor was established in March 2009, as an elite police unit specifically formed to deal with outlaw motorcycle gangs. Raptor was originally part of the Criminal Group Squad, prior to becoming a standalone unit in February last year.

At that time, then NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller said that Raptor’s policing strategies are “relentless, high-impact and in-your-face”. And it was at this time that the strike force was christened Raptor Squad.

Indeed, current NSW police commissioner Karen Webb must enjoy Raptor’s brutal theatrics as well, because in June, she expanded its numbers by an additional 30 officers, who must have come in handy last Saturday night, when the squad was busting some noise polluters heads.

Proud boys in blue

Two senior constables from then Strike Force Raptor came under the scrutiny of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission in 2019, over an incident in April that year, which involved the officers pulling over two Afghan women for performing an illegal U-turn on a Harris Park street.

“You have to be the most stupidest person I’ve met as the driver of a motor vehicle,” one of the Raptor officers said to the driver, obviously not understanding the irony of his comment. And he ends the taped confrontation with, “Don’t take advantage of our system”.

The LECC report found the officers had engaged in “serious misconduct”, of which included the second senior constable threatening to take the driver’s mother, who had just arrived in the country from Afghanistan, to “Villawood” immigration detention centre.

Brownshirts wearing blue

Not only is Raptor known for beating up students for playing loud music and threatening to deport Muslim women because their daughter broke a road rule, but it’s also infamous for being the instigator of some new legislation before NSW parliament to protect lawyers from intimidation.

NSW attorney general Mark Speakman currently has a piece of legislation before state parliament that when passed will make it an offence to threaten, intimidate or harass a criminal defence lawyer to influence their actions in a case, or to carry out reprisals in this regard.

This law that will likely be enacted is not due to the actions of any clients, but specifically because a group of Raptor officers followed a criminal defence lawyer around to intimidate him because he required their commander to attend a case in a regional town in person, rather than via video link.

The Raptor commander planned out the intimidation operation with his officers the night before it occurred. It involved the pair circling the lawyers house early morning, pulling him over to check his licence while mentioning they were Raptor officers, and sitting on his parked car and staring at him.

When the lawyer turned up to the courthouse, a group of Raptor officers were standing out the front in an intimidating manner. And the lawyer was so freaked out by the episode that he asked the magistrate if he could leave the court via the back entrance, and he then dropped the case.

“A reorganisation of Strike Force Raptor has very recently been announced,” concludes the LECC report that resulted from an inquiry into the lawyer intimidation case. “The commission is confident that the issues identified in this report will be considered by the new commander.”

Obviously, the new commander thoroughly pondered what was put on the table by the state’s police watchdog and decided his officers’ time would be better spent actually beating up young civilians instead of merely threatening criminal lawyers.

Images taken from footage in a Reddit thread

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Paul Gregoire

Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He's the winner of the 2021 NSW Council for Civil Liberties Award For Excellence In Civil Liberties Journalism. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Paul wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.

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