NSW Police have hit back at man who says he was ejected from an A-League game in Sydney last night because he tried to take his daughter, who has special needs, to the toilet.
Sydney FC fan Rory Carroll said his daughter was “traumatised” after being escorted out of Kogarah Jubilee Stadium by police in front of thousands of jeering fans.
Footage uploaded to social media from the Sydney FC versus Melbourne Victory A-league semi-final showed a heated exchange between Mr Carroll and several police officers.
Mr Carroll says the argument started when he tried to take his daughter into a nearby disabled toilet which was located in a restricted area.
But in a press conference this afternoon, NSW Police claimed Mr Carroll was escorted from the stadium after he refused to co-operate with “seating protocols”.
They also claimed his daughter was not with him when he tried to access the restricted area.
“I’m confident with what I’ve been told is that he did not have his daughter with him at the time he came into conflict with security and thereafter had a conflict with police and was asked to leave for his behaviour,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton said.
The Assistant Commissioner added that reports from security staff suggested he was not trying to access the disabled facility.
“Some information that I have that was recorded was that he was trying to enter the grandstand area where there was a greater variety of beer available than there was in the outer grandstand area where he was seated.”
10 Uniformed Police and 4 security guards evict a father who wanted to take his disabled daughter to the closest toilet. @ALeague @9NewsSyd @SydneyFC #SYDvMVC #BigBlue #ALeague pic.twitter.com/MdXZSCv2Rq
— Tom Miles (@TomMile43729676) May 12, 2019
‘Are you serious?’
In videos posted to social media, Mr Carroll can be seen arguing with police and security while his daughter watches on.
“Are you serious?” he asked police in the video.
“The disabled toilets — because my daughter needs it — are right there and they won’t let me take my daughter through.”
Mr Carroll then pointed at a security guard as he continued arguing with the police.
“You guys want to kick me out because he said so and I can’t take my disabled daughter five metres,” he said.
“If you go by the reports that I’ve heard, this man actually incited the crowd to support him as he was leaving … so a reasonable amount of police to ensure they can do their job safely and effectively would [be needed],” Assistant Commissioner Walton said.
“I wouldn’t describe it as heavy handed or over the top.
“There’s not a lot that we’re agreeing with, with this man in relation to what he’s posted.”
— John Miles-Craig (@aussiejcmc) May 12, 2019
Soon after the police press conference on Monday, Mr Carroll tweeted and said he was not drinking last night as he was driving.
Federation Football Australia (FFA) board member Remo Nogarotto also took to social media to vent about the incident.
“This is disgraceful and the FFA needs to make its outrage heard at a political level,” he wrote on Twitter.
“If senior elements of the NSW Police can’t see the absurdity and humiliation of tonight’s incident then their political masters need to intervene.”
A FFA spokesperson said the organisation and Sydney FC had reached out to Mr Carroll.