Police involved in a violent arrest during the Sydney Mardi Gras displayed a level of naivety by telling members of the public to stop filming the incident, a senior police officer has said.
The police need to be mature enough to know that everyone on the street basically has a mobile phone with camera capability and they are going to be filmed
Footage posted on YouTube shows a handcuffed man with a head wound, being thrown to the ground by a police officer during festivities on Saturday night. During the incident both the policeman and another officer tell the person to stop filming with their mobile phone.
The man in the video, 18-year-old Jamie Jackson, has been charged with offensive language, assaulting police and resisting arrest.
NSW Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said that by asking the person to stop filming, those officers were in breach of the NSW Police Media Policy.
"I would suggest it shows a degree of naivety of the police involved who made those comments," he said. "We understand and accept and in fact support the right of the community to film anyone in a public space. We do it ourselves as part of our operational duties.
"The police need to be mature enough to know that everyone on the street basically has a mobile phone with camera capability and they are going to be filmed."
Kevin Lynch, a lawyer from Johnson, Winter & Slattery, which provides legal advice to Fairfax Media, said it was legal to film anyone as long as you are on public property or have the permission of a property owner to film.
"If you're on public land or if you're in a situation where you have a right or an entitlement to use the land from which you're filming you can film you or me or the police or whatever is going on and there's not a general prohibition on you doing so."
Mr Lynch said filming police activities was "not a new thing" but could become a growing issue due to the proliferation of mobile phone cameras.
"It goes right back to the Rodney King riots or the Arab Spring or what we saw during APEC and the Occupy movements around the world."
Under the NSW Police Media Policy, police do not have the power to prevent a person from taking photos or filming; confiscate their photographic or filming equipment; delete images or recording or request that they be deleted.
Exceptions can occur if police have been given special anti-terrorism powers or if filming of the images amounts to offensive conduct.
Police officers who try to confiscate equipment or delete recordings could be prosecuted for assault or trespass to the person concerned.
Mr Murdoch said the media policy had been "communicated loud and clear" to all officers. "But clearly we still have much work to do there to get that message across."
He said the police officers who were involved in the incident remain on frontline duties.
"We need to wait and see what our internal and criminal investigations show," Mr Murdoch said. "If at some point in the future our investigations disclose that more robust action needs to be taken in terms of duty restriction, or criminal charges or departmental action, that action will be taken."