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Man arrested after young Indigenous kids ‘restrained’ with cable ties in ‘confronting’ scenes

Caleb Runciman
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Tied up kids

A 45-year-old man has been charged with aggravated assault after Aboriginal children were found bound with cable ties outside a home on Tuesday, in scenes that shocked the nation.

The incident in the north-west of West Australia was live streamed to social media about 2.15pm, with the footage showing two children crying in the background before the man was arrested by police.

A video of the incident, in which members of the community could be heard condemning the man in the background, was then widely shared after being reposted on Instagram.

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A 45-year-old Broome man has been charged with aggravated assault after Aboriginal children were found bound with cable ties outside a home at Cable Beach on Tuesday.
A 45-year-old Broome man has been charged with aggravated assault after Aboriginal children were found bound with cable ties outside a home at Cable Beach on Tuesday. Credit: Unknown/Facebook

Late on Tuesday night, police confirmed they had charged the Broome man with three counts of aggravated assault and released a statement.

“Police were called to the home on Conkerberry Road about 2.15pm on Tuesday 5 March for a reported trespass incident,” it said.

“Officers arrived a short time later and found two children — a six-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy — had been physically restrained. The officers called St John Ambulance to assess the children, who were reunited with family members soon afterwards.

“Police later identified and located a third child who had been detained — an eight-year-old boy who had fled the scene prior to police arrival.

“The man, from Broome, was taken into custody, interviewed over the matter and charged. It is alleged the force used to restrain the children was not proportionate in the circumstances.”

“The man was granted bail and is due to appear in court at a later date. Police continue to work closely with the affected families and acknowledge the challenging circumstances surrounding this incident.

Police later described the incident as “confronting” after confirming officers had attended the address in relation to a “trespass incident”.
Police later described the incident as “confronting” after confirming officers had attended the address in relation to a “trespass incident”. Credit: Unknown/Facebook

“Community members are encouraged to allow the court process to run its course.”

Police later described the incident as “confronting” after confirming officers had attended the address in relation to a “trespass incident”.

“Police are investigating a confronting incident that unfolded in Broome today involving a six-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy,” a spokesman told The West Australian.

While the police only made reference to two children, a photo circulating online showed three crying children sitting on the driveway.

Police later identified the third child detained, an eight-year-old boy who managed to flee before police arrived.

“Officers were initially called to a home on Conkerberry Road, Cable Beach, about 2.15pm for a reported trespass incident,” police said.

“Officers responded quickly, and when they arrived, they found two children had been physically restrained. Officers called St John WA ambulance officers to assess the children, who have since been reunited with family members.

“A man has been taken into custody and is assisting with inquiries.

A spokesman added that police presence in the region remained normal despite fears of community uproar.
A spokesman added that police presence in the region remained normal despite fears of community uproar. Credit: Unknown/Facebook

“Police are working closely with the affected families and encourage community members to allow officers to thoroughly investigate the matter so that the full circumstances can be established.”

A spokesman added that police presence in the region remained normal despite fears of community uproar.

It was reported that the man had been working at the property for a local air-conditioning company when he discovered the children swimming in the pool at the house.

The business has since been hit with a barrage of abuse online and a series of one-star Google reviews in protest against the worker’s alleged actions.

“They were frightened. They were crying, shaking and singing out for their mum,” witness Leandra McKenzie told media.

Ms McKenzie claimed the children had been tied up out the front of the property for more than an hour — at a time when Broome recorded temperatures of 33C.

“We were yelling at him to tell them to release them . . . but he just wouldn’t give up,” she said.

Member for Kimberley Divina D’Anna said she was horrified by the footage but was quick to call for calm from the community. “I was appalled at the footage I saw today,” Ms D’Anna told The West. “As the matter is subject to a police inquiry, it would be inappropriate to make further comment.

“At this time, it’s important the community remains calm and allows the police to conduct the investigation.”

Tensions in Broome have been close to boiling point over the past few months with rising crime, escalating violence and concerns about alcohol consumption.

In December, The West spoke with the Broome community as part of the Horror in Paradise series — with many detailing how they were living in fear.

Police said at the time they were continuing to work with the community in “both a preventive and enforcement capacity” amid fears alcohol was contributing to community tension.

“Police are highly visible in the community and work closely with the Department of Education, Department of Communities, Shire of Broome, PCYC, Broome Youth and Families Hub and other community groups to divert youth away from crime,” Broome police station Sen. Sgt Courtney Solly said.

A new community-led program — Immediate Response Night Space — was announced earlier this year to provide a safe place for children left to wander streets at night.

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