A former Lake Illawarra cop and riot squad officer has been convicted of assaulting a teenager at a Shellharbour park in October 2020.
Stephen Andrew De Jong was a police officer for 22 years, but was dismissed from the force after the incident, where he went to the park after receiving a call from his wife who said that boys were taking pictures and staring at her.
De Jong, who was on duty at the time and in uniform, made a detour to the park while his police partner remained in the vehicle.
De Jong threw the boy off the bike, dragged him along a roadway, slammed him into the ground, picked him up by his hair and held him while he went through his phone.
After a four-day hearing in August, De Jong was found guilty of assaulting the boy, breaching his powers and conducting an unlawful search.
During the hearing, De Jong could not identify what crime the boy may have committed that would warrant such a response.
In a victim impact statement tendered to the court, the boy describes suffering from mental health issues after the assault, losing any trust in the police force and ongoing fears that his phone may be monitored.
De Jong's lawyer, Patrick Schmidt, had applied for his client's matter to be dealt with under the Mental Health Act.
The court heard the police officer of 22 years began his career at the high stakes Surry Hills Command before transitioning to other roles, ultimately becoming a member of the riot squad for eight years.
De Jong later transferred to Lake Illawarra Command and performed general duties, but suffered ongoing mental health issues as a result of his time on the force and what Mr Schmidt claimed was a lack of support from his superiors.
De Jong was medically discharged after the Shellharbour incident and has not worked since.
However, Magistrate Michael O'Brien dismissed Mr Schmidt's application, finding De Jong's actions were better dealt with according to law.
Mr O'Brien said De Jong's actions fell at the mid-range of seriousness due to him being a police officer, in uniform and on duty, and said a conviction would be recorded.
Mr O'Brien sentenced De Jong to a community corrections order for 12 months.