Former cop jailed for assault

Former police officer Benjamin Thomas Price.
Former police officer Benjamin Thomas Price. Evan Schwarten

FIVE Queensland Police officers have resigned since former Airlie Beach officer Ben Price was charged with assault.

At least another three serving officers face disciplinary action since the sentencing of Price in Townsville District Court on Monday.

Benjamin Thomas Price, 34, was sentenced to 27 months in jail but will be eligible for parole in July next year.

He was charged with four counts of assault in three separate incidents which occurred while he was serving as a Senior Constable at Airlie Beach in 2007 and 2008.

Acting Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said this week he was “absolutely sure” the culture of the Whitsunday Police Station had improved since these events occurred.

Since Monday’s sentencing, Queensland Police have released graphic video footage which showed Price pulling a slender woman off the ground by her hair and twisting her arms above her head.

Another showed Price shoving a running hose down a man’s throat.

Other officers can also been seen in the footage including one officer who hands Price the hose.

Queensland Police announced this week that five officers had resigned over the incidents and that at least three more would face disciplinary action.

It has not been confirmed whether or not those officers are still based in the Whitsundays.

Queensland Police Ethical Standards and Command Assisting Commissioner Peter Martin said internal investigations were continuing in regards to disciplinary action for the three officers who continued to serve.

“There are people depicted within the video image who are still currently serving officers and are now subject to official internal investigation,” he said.

He could not confirm if these officers had been eligible for promotion since this time but said they were of junior ranks at the time.

Commissioner Martin said the five officers who had resigned would not be investigated.

He praised former Constable Bree Sonter who made the complaint against Price in 2008.

Commissioner Martin said Constable Sonter was “heroic”.

Acting police Commissioner Ian Stewart said there was still a lot of work to be done to regain police credibility in the Airlie Beach community.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do to regain the credibility we previously had in [Airlie Beach],” he said.

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