Heavily armed police were used to remove Aboriginal children from their home “at gunpoint”, the New South Wales Greens say.
Greens MLC David Shoebridge is demanding the State Government explain why the officers helped Family and Community Services (FACS) workers take eight children from a house in Moree earlier this year.
Mr Shoebridge said the family was traumatised.
“[It’s a] deeply troubling story of a family that’s been woken soon after dawn,” he said.
“[They used] shields, helmets, assault rifles, the mother and father taken from their beds, shaken from their beds, handcuffed naked, children marched out at gunpoint.”
Police confirmed officers from the Barwon Local Area Command helped FACS officers execute a court warrant, saying they attended to prevent any breach of the peace or public order incident.
A spokesman for NSW Police said the officers were from the Operational Support Group.
Neither the department nor NSW Police have said whether the officers were equipped with shields, helmets and assault rifles.
Mr Shoebridge said there were no outstanding charges against any family members, no firearms were located on the property and no charges were laid.
He said he suspected FACS removed the children after the death of a child from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
“There are undoubtedly cases where FACS need to intervene to protect children,” he said.
“[But] the thought that they’d be waking children up with assault rifles and parading them before their naked handcuffed parents, how it’s got to that I think is something that the community are demanding answers to and indeed I will be demanding answers to.”
The Department of Family and Community Services confirmed eight children from Moree were taken into care earlier this year, saying they were removed because of significant concerns about their safety.
They said caseworkers had worked with the family for an extended period of time and were continuing to do so, and FACS would only remove a child as a last resort, when there were serious concerns for wellbeing.
A police spokesman said no charges had been laid.
“One man was detained for a short period to ensure there was no breach of the peace,” he said.