Parents distraught after mayor performs 'violent' arrest on 12-year-old boy
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An Australian mayor has faced backlash for performing a violent arrest on a young boy.
Jeffrey McLaughlin, now-suspended Barkly Regional Council Mayor, was involved in an altercation with a boy believed to be just 12 years old who he alleges had broken into his home.
This sparked him to perform a citizen's arrest, where he sat on top of the boy to restrain him.
Another man has been charged with aggravated assault over the incident.
In video footage of the ordeal, McLaughlin says to the youngster: "It's a citizen's arrest mate and I'll f**king sit here as long as I have to."
Elsewhere in the video was another man who said he'd 'love to stand on [the boy's] head'.
"One of you guys are going to get killed," McLaughlin went on.
"I told you the other day. You're really lucky that you're really with me."
The other man then comes into the frame again and appears to pretend to kick the boy in the head.
"Keep your f**king head down or I'll stamp on it," the Aussie man says.
Elsewhere he says 'you're lucky I don't punch you in the head' as the 12-year-old flinches.
The unnamed guy proceeds to warn that he will kill the boy, who is understood to be Indigenous, if he sees him in the area again.
In light of the distressing video from August, the boy's parents have now claimed that McLaughlin used 'excessive force' to restrain him.
“As a person in high office he should [have] stopped this assault almost immediately, but he didn’t,” the letter reads, as per news.com.au.
"Any reasonable person would not have sat on my son’s back … for a long time.
"Mr McLaughlin did not try to stop [the other man] stomping on my son’s head."
Despite the backlash, McLaughlin has defended his actions and said they were 'entirely reasonable within the circumstances'.
He also claimed he spoke to the boy's parents after the incident, which he described as 'restorative justice' - but they deny that this conversation ever happened.
People have called for McLaughlin to resign in the wake of the incident, but he has refused to do so.
He has since been suspended from his role of mayor.
This is down to the NT government investigating concerns over Barkly Regional Council members' management rather than McLaughlin's actions in the video, confirmed NT Attorney-General and Local Government Minister Chansey Paech.
Paech has, however, labelled McLaughlin's actions in the clip as 'completely unacceptable'.