Mum ripped away from toddler at COVID-19 protest now under investigation
The NSW Police Commissioner has defended the arrest of a Sydney mother at a protest against coronavirus restrictions, saying “she caused this” by refusing to give police her details.
Renee Altakrity, 36, was arrested on Sunday afternoon after flouting social distancing rules along with dozens of other protesters outside NSW Parliament on Macquarie Street.
Footage circulated on social media of Altakrity resisting arrest while clinging to her crying four-year-old son.
The cosmetic nurse was arrested for not giving police her name and taken to Surry Hills Police Station, where she was issued a $1,000 fine for breaching social distancing restrictions. Her son was taken home by a family member, according to News.com.au.
“That lady was approached by police, asked to provide some particulars so a very simple process could then take place but for whatever reason she became quite hysterical,” said NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys.
In a mobile phone video, Altakrity said: “I cannot believe this is happening. They’ve left me in the back of the paddy wagon at the police station. They’ve taken my son inside.”
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller defended the actions of his officers.
“I think the police showed an enormous amount of restraint. I certainly hope she pleads not guilty so that [police body camera] footage comes out,” he told 2GB on Monday.
“If this woman had given police her details at the scene, she would’ve been given a ticket and would’ve left … but she refused to do that. She caused this.
“They all went there knowing it was an unlawful protest so why you’re taking a four-year-old into that situation is beyond me.”
Commissioner Fuller said the protest was unlawful because the protesters had not informed authorities and were breaching coronavirus restrictions.
Altakrity is also under investigation for allegedly operating her business in contravention of the state’s restrictions.