In 2017, Nathan Cross was slammed headfirst into a counter at Victor Harbour police station while handcuffed. The police thug who assaulted Cross was a Senior Constable Ben Higgins.
The photo above shows the moment Higgins placed his hand behind Cross’ head, in order to viciously propel the handcuffed man headfirst into the counter.
The sickening assault was not an isolated attack by Higgins, who appears to enjoy bashing handcuffed and defenseless individuals. In 2019 he was captured on camera sucker-punching 22-year old Craig Yates. Yates was handcuffed with his hands behind his back and being restrained by two other officers when, without warning, Higgins coward-punched him to the face.
Higgins has suffered no adverse consequences for his violent behaviour. To the contrary, Higgins was praised after the Yates incident by SAPOL Commissioner, Grant Stevens. The short-tempered career bureaucrat said his officers were “allowed to use reasonable force, and it means people are going to get hurt if they try to assault a police officer … I fully support the professional way they deal with those in the community who think it’s OK to threaten or assault police”.
Why Stevens made these comments when the video footage clearly showed Yates posing no threat to Higgins or the other officers remains unknown.
SAPOL is notorious for engaging in malicious assault prosecutions. This is when an individual has been assaulted by police, but SAPOL instead charges the victim with assault in order to reverse the burden of proof.
Despite the indisputable video evidence showing Higgins to be the aggressor, both Cross and Yates were charged with assault (video footage of both attacks by Higgins can be found at the end of this article).
Higgins sucker (coward) punches Yates while the latter is looking down, handcuffed and restrained by two other officers.
Higgins pushing on Yates’ head after sucker-punching him and dragging him to the ground.
SAPOL Told to Drop Charges Against Cross
Cross is now suing the South Australian government for the malicious prosecution and assault inflicted upon him by SAPOL.
Discovery proceedings by Cross’ lawyer have revealed SAPOL was told to drop the assault charges against Cross, two years before he was acquitted at trial.
The District Court has heard senior staff found there was “no reasonable prospect” of convicting Cross because of “credit issues” with Higgins, the officer who accused him (by “credit”, they mean “credibility”).
In internal documents, the staffers said there was “nothing on the CCTV” footage of the incident to support Higgins’ account of Cross’s 2017 arrest.
There was, they wrote, no “threat of force” nor “action from Cross that can be defined as an assault”.
Higgins responded to the document by saying he disagreed.
“I believe that I was assaulted … he lunges toward me with his head on two occasions whilst being verbally aggressive,” he wrote.
“There was a very real possibility that he would carry out the threat he would, indeed, spit at me or strike me with his head.”
The video evidence clearly contradicts Higgins’ self-serving version of events.
Cross’ lawsuit asserts he was maliciously prosecuted to “cover up” police assaulting him at the Victor Harbor police station in February 2017.
He was handcuffed, barefoot and surrounded by three other officers when Higgins forcefully and deliberately pushed him into the charge counter. Because of Higgins’ attack, Cross’ head hit the edge of the counter and he was knocked out cold. The attack left Cross with permanent injuries.
Victim Nathan Cross after being violently assaulted by Senior Constable Ben Higgins, who has a history of attacking handcuffed individuals.
The lawsuit followed Cross’ acquittal in September 2020, in which the court declared there was no evidence to support Higgins’ allegations.
The highly corrupt and dishonest SAPOL has denied any “causal link” between Cross’s injuries and the incident, while an internal inquiry did not result in any of the officers being charged.
One of the documents tendered as part of the lawsuit is a SAPOL “charge discontinuance notice” dated August 2018.
In the notice, two officers reviewing the case noted Cross was “undoubtedly belligerent, awkward, obstructive and plainly rude” toward Higgins.
But after having “viewed the footage at length” one officer said they could “not see any behaviour” by Cross “that constitutes an assault against police”.
His colleague agreed, adding Higgins’ statement “does not reflect what occurs on the CCTV footage”.
However, a third officer, who investigated the case, wrote that he agreed with Higgins.
“His (Cross’) overall conducted is undoubtedly threatening, causing the victim to fear that he was about to be assaulted,” this officer wrote.
Ignoring the video evidence clearly showing Higgins as the aggressor, this third officer inexplicably portrays the thuggish senior constable as the victim.
In court, Andrew Carpenter, representing Cross, asked prosecutors be ordered to hand over all further documentation explaining why the case proceeded to trial.
The lawsuit returns to court next month.
The videos below show Higgins assaulting Cross and Yates. The footage of the assault on Cross is sufficiently graphic and disturbing that YouTube has deemed it age-restricted.
Despite knowing they are on camera, SAPOL officers like Higgins feel no inhibitions about violently assaulting people. And why would they, when it is standard practice at the thoroughly rotten SAPOL to clear officers like Higgins of wrongdoing, and when the police commissioner himself praises and makes excuses for such thuggish behaviour?