I saw the arrest of Greg McLeay happen first hand, start to finish (well, not including the underground bit). I even came back to the office afterwards and was telling it to people, as this was the most exciting thing to happen on a very, very slow day.
I was downstairs having a smoke (working on a public holiday type thing) when I saw the police cars drive up and block the street. Cops around, one in the middle of the road blocking traffic on Pitt St, just near Martin Place. More cops on the sidewalk were there stopping people walking past on both sides of the road. There were maybe 10 to 20 people total, waiting on both sides of the road. There were lots of guys in dark suits with earpieces near the driveway to the hotel.
Anyway, I’m leaning on the wall having a smoke when this starts to occur, shooting the sh-t with a hotel security guard. A motorcade comes along. Then we see the guy in question, he’s walking on the far side of the road towards the motorcade (approximately 100m away and closing slowly).
The cops tell him to stop, the people around him do so (which I was later to learn was his kid and someone else). He walks around the cop like you’d walk around someone handing you a flyer. The cop turns and goes “Sir, Sir!” and moves after him.
The cop stops him and says something to him. The dude gesticulates wildly, and says something. He then turns at like 90 degrees and walks diagonally across the street deliberately. The cop is stunned for half a second, then moves really quickly after him.
“Sir, Sir” says the cop as he grabs the guy’s arm, and not quite forcefully walk him to the other side. The dude is yelling “Take your hands off me” or something. The cop walks him into like a little alcove and another cop comes over.
There were lots of cops standing around a little way away watching both him and the motorcade. The cop was giving the dude a lecture. The dude is firey and answering back. No one else has moved. A senior cop comes over and asks the dude for his ID. Things seem to quieten down meanwhile the security guard and I have moved around the pylon so we can still see. Maybe 15m, away.
The first cop is still giving a lecture, and I hear things like APEC and whatnot. The dude is clearly not happy, but looks under control. The Motorcade then comes and goes and people are then allowed to move. The kid and some other guy come over and start watching from maybe 5m away.
The dude seems to fire up again, waving his arms. The senior cop is talking now, and I clearly hear him say “calm down.” All of a sudden the dude double handed pushes the first cop in the chest, like a shove before a bar fight. This changes everything.
The first cop arm grabs the dude, turns him, armlock, bangs him up against the wall, not particularly hard, but it’s not like the dude had a choice. There is lots of yelling now. The cop goes “Right, that’s it. You’re under arrest”, and the dude tries to kick out backwards. The cop and the second cop spin him round, and half-push-half-wrestle him to the ground.
The cops are coming from everywhere now. Now it’s a pile on. Maybe six to eight cops piled on this dude, as he yells his guts out. People start to gather, a dude with a camera is right there, like a metre from the pile on. They pick the dude up and start to walk him away. Some angry cop comes from the pack and starts yelling at people to move away, he wasn’t mucking around, so I got out of there.
This dude fully brought it on himself, I’m no real fan of the cops (thanks to being done speeding at 5.20am on the way to work), but they handled this well considering the tension in the air around APEC.
The dude came across like a arrogant d-ck. “No politician motorcade is going to get in MY way” type of thing. I do feel sorry for his kid though, saw a whole bunch of cops jump on his old man then frogmarch him away.
I read the news article just this morning, and am struck by the differences in what “happened”, and what I saw.
Watch the footage here or click on the image below.