Transgender woman allegedly pepper sprayed, punched and called ‘IT’ by cops during dramatic arrest

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Transgender woman Anya Bradford was allegedly punched by police during an arrest at a pub in Liverpool, south-western Sydney last year

Transgender woman Anya Bradford was allegedly punched by police during an arrest at a pub in Liverpool, south-western Sydney last year

A transgender woman was temporarily blinded by pepper-spray, punched and referred to as ‘it’ by police during a dramatic arrest at a busy suburban pub, a court has heard. 

Senior Constable Mark Anthony Follington allegedly twice assaulted Anya Bradford, 25, who had been asked for her ID in the gaming room of the Golden Fleece Hotel in Liverpool, south-western Sydney, and then falsely accusing her of assaulting him and resisting arrest. 

Follington, 61, has pleaded not guilty to five charges including evidence tampering after the May 2019 arrest.

The New South Wales senior constable said he and his partner would be fine as long as they ‘keep to the story’, prosecutors allege.

Prosecutor Claire Robinson told Sydney’s Downing Centre local court on Monday Follington spoke to his junior partner on the night of the arrest about the potential of the woman’s phone data being downloaded.

‘This is good for us. We will be fine as long as we keep to the story,’ the prosecutor told the court Follington said. 

Ms Bradford pictured outside Downing Centre Local Court in September 2019. She had been passing time in the pub before a 2pm appointment at the time of the alleged police assault

Ms Bradford pictured outside Downing Centre Local Court in September 2019. She had been passing time in the pub before a 2pm appointment at the time of the alleged police assault

Primarily based on Follington’s account, Ms Bradford was charged and spent a night in custody.

Ms Bradford had been passing time in the pub before a 2pm appointment when Follington and his partner walked in and asked for identification, the court was told.

She told them she didn’t have any and made her way towards the door.

CCTV shows Follington grab her arm, leading to a scuffle in which the Crown alleges the officer shoved the woman’s head into an ATM.

Ms Bradford was tasered twice by the junior officer as she ran out the door to the Liverpool Community Corrections Office building foyer.

Follington pulled Ms Bradford out of the building’s lift, propelling her into the opposite wall, the Downing Centre Local Court heard.

He then pushed his forearm under her jaw after she was handcuffed and brought to her feet, Ms Robinson said.

The junior officer also allegedly doused Ms Bradford ‘from head to toe’ with pepper spray, the court was told, news.com.au reported.

Ms Bradford was allegedly doused 'from head to toe' with pepper spray by a junior officer during the arrest

Ms Bradford was allegedly doused ‘from head to toe’ with pepper spray by a junior officer during the arrest

The senior constable allegedly later authored a false narrative on the internal police database and in court documents that claimed Ms Bradford initiated contact in the pub’s gaming room by pushing him and causing him to lose balance.

‘It is the crown case that this assault never occurred,’ Ms Robinson said.

Senior police later reviewed the material in the case and advised Ms Bradford’s charges be dismissed.

The police force’s professional standards command began investigating Follington within weeks and charged him in November.

Ms Bradford said she felt 'intimidated and ... in fear for my safety' as she was pursued down the street by police

Ms Bradford said she felt ‘intimidated and … in fear for my safety’ as she was pursued down the street by police

Ms Bradford leaves the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney in September 2019. A police professional standards command investigated Follington within weeks of the arrest

Ms Bradford leaves the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney in September 2019. A police professional standards command investigated Follington within weeks of the arrest

He faces charges of tampering with evidence with intent to mislead a judicial tribunal, doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice and modifying restricted data held in computer, and two counts of common assault.

Giving evidence on Monday, Ms Bradford said she felt ‘intimidated and … in fear for my safety’ as she was pursued down the street.

‘I knew they wanted my ID and I’d already told them I didn’t have my ID and they said “OK” and walked away,’ she said.

Cross-examined by barrister Ray Hood, she denied exaggerating her account but conceded some of her recollections were incorrect.

The incident had been traumatic and she’d had a sleepless Sunday night, she told the court.

The hearing before magistrate Michael Crompton resumes Tuesday.

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