The teenager at the centre of a social media video in which he is seen being arrested after the Australia Day brawl in Huskisson suffered a broken collarbone in the incident.
He also says he was punched in the face by one of the police officers, a claim denied by senior police.
Keeda Meehan, 16, sitting next to his mother Sandra at the family’s dining table at Orient Point, says he was not involved in the brawl which brought police to the Huskisson Carnival late last Friday night.
“This [his arrest] all happened about 20 minutes after the brawl had happened and been dispersed,” he said.
“I was standing there with some relatives and friends from JB, just watching what had gone on. There was probably about 20 of us.
“The cops came up to us and asked who we were and wanted our names. I wasn’t doing anything wrong so I refused to give my name. Why should I have to?
“The officer got in my face and I swore out loud. I was told that was a warning for swearing. I went to walk away and the officer followed me.
“Someone said he was coming and I turned and he went to trip me, with his leg behind mine. I reflexively reacted and grabbed the front of his shirt so I didn’t fall over and then [the officer] punched me in the face with a closed fist.”
The teenager admitted to spitting at the officer but denied claims in other media outlets that he had “headbutted” the officer.
From all witnesses we have spoken too there has been no corroboration to the claim the teenager was punched in the face by police.District commander of the South Coast Police District, Superintendent Steve Hegarty
“No way,” he said.
He claims while handcuffed and still on the ground he was “pepper sprayed”.
“I didn’t know about or feel my shoulder at that stage, I was just trying to breathe.”
He along with another male relative were placed in the back of a paddy wagon and taken to Nowra police station.
Keeda said he momentarily passed out during the trip, with his cousin “waking him up” and using “his ripped shirt” to try and “clear the spray from his eyes”.
He was one of five young people arrested following the incident and was later released to family members without charge but has been told he could be facing four charges including assaulting police, resisting arrest and swearing under the Young Offenders Act.
A Facebook post by his mother showed his arrest and his bruised and grazed back.
After complaining of a sore shoulder he was taken to Shoalhaven Hospital on Sunday where X-rays revealed the talented rugby league player and keen bodyboarder has a broken right collarbone.
His mother Sandra said she was “horrified” and “angry” at the way her son had been treated.
“He did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve this,” she said.
“I was shocked when I saw the way police reacted. No one, regardless if it was my son or not, deserves to be treated like that.
“I had no idea when I put the post on social media it would take off the way it did. I didn’t think it would go viral. I was just upset at how he had been treated.
“Why couldn't he have just been handcuffed and sat on the ground?
“And then the other videos came out of police wrestling girls and trying to take their mobile phones.”
She said she has received positive and negative comments.
“Some of the negative comments left me furious, saying I needed to be a better mother and calling Keeda a feral,” she said.
“These people don’t know me and they don’t know Keeda.
“People even dredged up old posts I had expressing concerns about him.
“Yes about 12 months ago he got in with a bad crowd and I heard he was drinking, smoking pot and was lying to me. It proved to be false. Yes he was drinking a little but he was not smoking pot and was not lying to me.
“He has never been in trouble with the police like this before.”
Although she did admit he had been suspended from school and an AVO placed on him after he got into a fight after another male student allegedly spread rumours about his sister and only “retaliated after being punched”.
“He’s still going to school and would be at school now if he didn’t have a broken collar bone,” she said.
Ms Meehan said she has been told she should lodge a complaint with NSW Police and has been contacted by a couple of solicitors offering help.
“I just hope this doesn’t stop his dreams of either one day joining the navy or possibly playing professional rugby league.”
District commander of the South Coast Police District, Superintendent Steve Hegarty said he was aware the juvenile had suffered a broken collarbone.
But he refuted claims a police officer had punched the teenager in the face during the arrest.
“From all witnesses we have spoken too there has been no coorberation to those claims,” Superintendent Hegarty said “nothing has come to my attention over the alleged punch.
“The only person to allege that is the juvenile. Nothing we’ve seen so far supports that claim.
“As it’s ongoing I won’t discuss the allegation further.”
Superintendent Hegarty said police “acted within the guidelines”.
“I think they did a fantastic job under the circumstances,” he said.
“It has been positive to see the community supportive of police.
“We were at the carnival to make sure the whole environment was family friendly and it was a shame it was spoiled by a handful of people.”