Cops who booted young girl attack father over alleged beers
NSW Police claim a football fan who was booted out of the A-League semi-final last night - allegedly for wanting to take his disabled daughter to the nearest toilet - was actually wanting to get his hands on a better selection of beers.
However, the man at the centre of the storm - Sydney FC supporter Rory Carroll - has already tweeted to say that he wasn't drinking last night, saying the suggestion that he had been was "disgraceful".
In footage uploaded onto Twitter, Mr Carroll can be seen surrounded by police before being escorted out of Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in southern Sydney to a chorus of boos.
He alleges the escorting out followed what appeared to be an earlier incident with security when he said he tried to take his daughter to the nearest toilet and was allegedly denied due to it possibly being in a restricted access area.
"Are you serious?" he says as the police talk to him.
"The disabled toilets, because my daughter needs it, are right there and they won't let me take my daughter through. That's what this is all about.
"You guys want to kick me out because he said so (as he points at security) and I can't take my disabled daughter five metres."
However, this afternoon NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton disputed Mr Carroll's claims, saying the fan was trying to get access to a grandstand area he did not have a ticket for.
"I am confident from the advice I have been provided that at the time that conflict occurred, he was not with his daughter, he was with an older male," he said.
"There was no expectation of that man with his daughter to enter the area for its toilet facilities."
He also said Mr Carroll's family was not evicted from the venue.
He said Mr Carroll then made the decision to leave with his children, while the other man stayed inside the ground.
When asked whether Mr Carroll "made up" the story about the toilet, Mr Walton said he couldn't speak for the disgruntled football fan.
"But some information I have that was recorded (in security guard notes) was that he was trying to enter that grandstand area where there was a greater variety of beer available than there was in the outer grandstand area where he was seated," he said.
"He did not have his daughter with him at the time he came to the conflict with security."
However, Mr Carroll wrote on Twitter that he wasn't even drinking last night.
"For the record, when driving kids a parent doesn't usually drink," he wrote. "I was not drinking yesterday evening, I take my responsibilities as a driver seriously. To impugn otherwise is disgraceful.
"I needed to go and check the same toilet that my daughter uses for it's cleanliness."
Mr Walton also slapped down reports that police officers were touching their guns when they were talking to Mr Carroll and the suggestion on social media that a police vehicle followed the ejected footy fan to a McDonald's restaurant in Kogarah.
"There's not a lot we're agreeing with this man in relation what he's posted," he said. "So they are matters for him to assert, not me to defend.
"I'm confident that if someone explained their situation and if a person with special needs was there and needed to access an area of any of our ground, that would be facilitated both by security and police," he said.
"I understand there's a disabled toilet in the stand where they were seated."
However, Mr Carroll took to his own Twitter account to explain his thoughts and alleged he was screamed at by stadium security and detailed the incident with police. He also tweeted the incident had "traumatised" his young daughter and he "had to console crying girls".
"Enough is enough. Our stadium tonight was filled with first time security guards, some clearly on power trips," Mr Carroll wrote.
"I know that some of those police officers did not wake up this morning expecting to be coming down so hard on 10 yr old troublemakers, but absurdly here we are.
"The question I now must ask myself is why bother taking my family to our stadiums?"
Football Federation Australia board member Joseph Carrozzi has said the FFA plans to investigate the incident and fellow board member Remo Nogarotto lashed out on social media.
"This is disgraceful and the FFA needs to make its outrage heard at a political level," he wrote on Twitter.
"If senior elements of the NSW Police can't see the absurdity and humiliation of tonights (sic) incident then their political masters need to intervene."
The video of the incident was labelled "extremely distressing" by Australian author Nikki Gemmell on Nine's Today Show.
"It's extremely distressing to see this," she said.
"This beautiful little girl sitting in front of her dad bewildered about what's going on. Then we see them getting walked out. The crowd's booing because they're on the family's side."
Today host Debora Knight described the video as "disturbing".
"This footage has emerged, quite disturbing, of an A-League fan being kicked out of a football match," she said.
"The Sydney father says he was just trying to take his disabled daughter to the closest bathroom, but was confronted by security because it was in a restricted access area."