"Out of the blue he took a pepper spray can and put it into my face and just started spraying, like I was some type of insect. Everything went blank in my head. There was screaming and yelling and pepper spray cans going off like fire hoses."
Kenyan-born Zacharia Matiang describes how eight police officers, investigating the theft of two bags of chips from a nearby 7-Eleven, assaulted him and two other teenagers in 2009, and called him a "black cunt".
In what legal groups say is part of a disturbing trend, a complaint to the independent police integrity body was deemed to have merit, but then dropped when it was passed to Victoria police to take action. A civil lawsuit, launched in parallel to the complaint, was settled confidentially in May 2013 before it reached court.
The Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre, which represented Matiang, said there had been 10 cases since 2006 in which African Australians were charged with hindering police but magistrates later ruled that officers had used inappropriate force against them, entered property without a proper warrant or stopped suspects without due cause, resulting in the cases being thrown out and compensation paid.
Covered in the Guardian at theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/07/victoria-police-african-racially-abused-racism