Police officer who fined Brisbane Greens councilor Jonathan Sri regularly criticized him on Facebook | Australian Police and Police

Queensland Police Service says it will conduct a “full review” of a fine issued to prominent Brisbane Greens councilor Jonathan Sri after it emerged the police officer involved had regularly criticized Sri in social media posts.

On January 26, senior constable Chris Borg used “emergency lights and sirens” to pursue Sri for allegedly cycling through a yellow light in South Brisbane.

The officer said in his report that he did not identify Sri until he had pulled him over.

For about 18 months before that date, a Facebook account came in Borg’s name with dozens of comments criticizing Sri, urging him to resign from the council and discourage his followers.

Borg called the councilor a “dishonest grub” and joked that he would hold a “bonfire party” with Sri’s polling station signs.

A month before the fine was issued, the officer responded on Facebook to Sri’s comments about police treatment of a homeless man, saying, “Now I’m angry about your very dishonest use of words.”

Sri, who has been an outspoken critic of the police, said he would challenge the fine in court later this month on the grounds that it was not safe for him to have stopped at the light.

Inflammatory comments

The police report, written by Borg, says he observed “a man cycling” along Vulture Street in South Brisbane.

Sri had attended an Invasion Day rally and was cycling home when he was stopped.

“This man was wearing a blue pushbike helmet, dark colored T-shirt, tanned shorts and had a blue milk crate on the back of the bike and was later identified as the defendant in this case,” the report said.

“The traffic lights have been yellow for about four seconds before the defendants went through the intersection to Stanley Street.

“Police have activated their emergency lights and sirens and tried to intercept the accused.”

The alleged traffic violation was captured on police dashcam.

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In a video of the Sri meeting, Borg refers to Sri’s job as councilor and his advocate for bicycle safety. The officer says, “If I need it, I’ll contact the gentleman … the council to give me your number.”

When Sri asks for his first name, Borg says: “You do not need my first name. [It’s] Senior Constable Borg. ”

Sri told Guardian Australia that after receiving an indictment with the officer’s full name, he remembered that a Facebook user named Chris Borg had regularly commented on his page.

“You are not the victim of a smear campaign on this subject, you are the dishonest pitcher,” Borg wrote in November 2019 in relation to a post from Sri in which he apologized for making a hoax voicemail call to a state member.

In another post, in which Sri condemned Israel’s “violent repression of the Palestinian people”, the police officer wrote: “The Greens love a terrorist organization.”

In a separate post on Sri’s page, the officer says to another person commenting, “Maybe your mother should have swallowed you.”

Borg subsequently changed his Facebook account name to “John Smith”.

In June, the “John Smith” account posted on Facebook about “my wonderfully beautiful girlfriend” and tagged a woman whose own profile contains several photos of herself with Borg.

Many of the comments about Sri – originally made under Borg’s own name – remained online until this week.

Guardian Australia has seen other posts of the account, made in a private police Facebook group discussing Queensland police policy with colleagues.

Guardian Australia approached Borg for comment Monday afternoon. By Tuesday, the “John Smith” account had been deleted.

Queensland police officers in Brisbane.
Queensland police officers in Brisbane. Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has in recent months cracked down on officers’ dubious activity on social media. Photo: Dave Hunt / AAP

‘A significant risk’

Police said in a statement that they had not received a complaint about the officer’s behavior, but they would investigate the matter.

“QPS … will conduct a full review of the case,” the statement said.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has in recent months cracked down on officer activity on social media. In June, after launching an investigation into complaints about police positions, Carroll issued a stern warning about the potential consequences for social media.

“As QPS members, there is a significant risk of posting information on personal social media platforms that it may be perceived or misunderstood as information from an official source and / or approved by QPS,” Carroll wrote to officers.

“We also have obligations to comply with the Code of Conduct when we use these platforms personally.

“Furthermore, QPS has a position of trust and a high level in society. Unprofessional behavior in any form destroys trust and diminishes our reputation in society, across government and other partner agencies.

“There are many cases where unprofessional comments on social media have resulted in suspension or dismissal from employment. A notable example concerns a senior member of an Australian law enforcement agency who was lined up and later resigned after using an alias on social media to make rude and rude comments.

“This is a reminder to all of us of the repeated harm that can be caused to the entire organization by the actions of some individuals.”

Sri argued on the spot that cyclists were in danger of “becoming the rear end of a person” if they stopped at a yellow light at the normally busy intersection. He said he would argue in court that it was not safe to stop because of the special circumstances.

Police said they had not yet decided whether to proceed with the trial.

“The report of the traffic violation is currently before the court, where the presentation of evidence is nearing completion. A decision (to proceed with the trial) will be made after assessment of this evidence. ”

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