How the police assault of Danny Lim, 78, ripped a nation apart

How the police assault of Danny Lim, 78, ripped a nation apart
Danny Lim, 78, was brutally injured after facing a discontinued arrest (@SebSebrof/@michaelkoziol/Twitter)

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES: Danny Lim, 78, Sydney's icon and a serial protester was hospitalized on Tuesday, November 22 after sustaining a fractured skull during the "discontinued" arrest by New South Wales police officers in the Sydney CBD on Tuesday. Known for the sandwich boards he is commonly seen wearing, Lim was walking through the Queen Victoria Building while wearing a sign when security told him to leave.

Lim's arrest video shot by a bystander has now outraged scores of people who demonstrated at Day Street in the CBD and Surry Hills Police Station on Wednesday evening, November 23 in protest against what they termed as "police brutality" and "heavy-handed" arrest of an old man "beloved" to all. The video shows Lim falling, cracking his head on the tile floor as he struggles with the arrest, soon after he also developed a black eye and bloody cheek.


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On Wednesday, Daily Mail Australia reported, Lim has not been able to communicate properly – a common symptom of serious brain traumas – since the injury. He has since been diagnosed with a "subdural hematoma" – a bruise between the surface of the brain and the skull. Before Lim was thrown on the ground and handcuffed, had asked the police, who were called by building security and exchanged heated arguments with, to call an ambulance as he needed it for his PTSD, a businessman, Mike Ashley, who was walking through Queen Victoria and witnessed the ugly scenes unfolding in front of his eyes told the Guardian.

“He let them know very clearly that he had PTSD, and that he needed an ambulance,” Ashley said. “He voiced that very clearly at the outset. He became increasingly agitated as they approached him.” When Ashley tried to intervene and asked Lim if he should call an ambulance, the officers threatened to charge him, he said. “The officer … said, ‘If you do that, we will charge you with hindering an arrest,’” he said. “It didn’t seem like the sort of thing that you might use to de-escalate [the] situation.”

A criminal lawyer Chris Murphy who also shared the video said Lim was awaiting a new brain scan and that he was in poor state. "NEWS: Danny Lim heading home QVB walkway to Town Hall station Waiting to talk to a friend at his phone shop.4 other shop ppl state Police harassing him ‘totally unnecessary’,one was distraught, filmed violence. Awaiting new brain scan. In poor state." wrote Murphy.



Speaking hours after the Tuesday morning's confrontation Lim said, “I told them to ring an ambulance,” he said. “They refused.” Earlier, Lim had expressed shock over how he had been treated. “I couldn’t believe it. I told them I suffer from PTSD. I couldn’t believe Australia could do this,” Lim said, as per the report. Lim said an ambulance was called after more officers arrived and he was then taken to St Vincent’s hospital, reports said.

Police have spoken about the incident which has shaken the nation by saying that they were called to the QVB at about 11am, after receiving reports Lim would not leave the building after being asked to do so. “Police will allege the man was subsequently issued with a move on direction by officers and failed to comply,” the police spokesperson said. An NSW Police spokesperson added on Wednesday, "The matter has been triaged as a complaint and allocated to an investigator from another command within Central Metropolitan Region."

Orphaned when just five months old, Lim was raised in a small village in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He grew up surrounded by racism and institutionalized discrimination. He moved to Sydney's Summer Hill in 1963 but he continued to face racist abuse. He later worked as an electrical technician before retiring at 59 to pursue a career in politics. In 2003 he was elected onto Strathfield's council and in 2004, held his first-ever sandwich board protest during a corruption scandal. He was a councilor for eight years and resigned in 2011 after facing death threats against him and his pup Smarty, then six years old. He also became the first councilor in more than 120 years to win a no-confidence vote against the mayor. In 2016 as he refilled his political career and this time  Lim was a familiar face around Sydney and known for his signs advocating love, peace, and smiling. Lim has had several run-ins with Sydney police. In January 2019 he was arrested for wearing a sign reading "SMILE CVN'T! WHY CVN'T" but was cleared of charges after a judge found his sign was cheeky, but not illegal.

The outpouring of support was also witnessed on Twitter as many were angry about how the police behaved with the old man, some saying, "F**k the cops, justice for Danny." On wrote, "All cops are c***s." Another user happy that demonstrations are happening wrote, "I wish I'd known this was happening." "I don’t have words for the Danny Lim news. Police brutality isn’t ever a surprise but it’s always a shock. Disgraceful. If anyone else used force like that in the course of their work, they’d be fired and arrested. Can’t wait to see the police investigation into the police," wrote another. "Take care of one another like your 2 thugs took care of much loved Sydney Icon Danny Lim, tripping him and face-planting him into the tiles with his hands pinned behind his back! Absolutely disgraceful act on a harmless elderly man. All of Sydney is appalled. Justice for Danny!!" a user wrote.







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