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BLM activist tells officer ‘your law does not apply to me as an Aboriginal man’ during traffic stop

Written by on May 9, 2024

A Black Lives Matter protest organiser has told a NSW Police officer that “your law does not apply to me as an Aboriginal man” during a traffic stop.

Paul Silva, 26, was pulled over by police in Kempsey on the mid north coast earlier this year after he was seen allegedly using his mobile phone while driving.

Mr Silva is the nephew of David Dungay Jr — who died in custody at Sydney’s Long Bail Jail in 2015 after screaming “I can’t breathe” as five guards pinned him on the floor — and has been involved in Black Lives Matter and Invasion Day protests.

Audio from the March 30 traffic stop was obtained by 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Wednesday.

“So you’re from Mid North Coast Police Station, right?” Mr Silva can be heard telling the officer.

“Can I have your driver’s licence please?” the officer says.

“Are you from Mid North Coast Police Station?” Mr Silva asks again.

“Can I have your driver’s licence please?” the officer says again loudly.

“Don’t raise your voice, sir,” Mr Silva says, adding, “Activate your bodycam, please.”

“It is,” the officer tells him.

“Well don’t raise your voice at me,” Mr Silva says.

“All you’ve got to do is just follow simple directions,” the officer says.

“Nah, nah, nah, I don’t follow your directions, your law does not apply to me as an Aboriginal man,” Mr Silva says.

“If you’ve got no reason to articulate this decision to stop me …”

The officer tells him “I stopped you for a reason”.

“Don’t yell at me, I’m not yelling at you, if you want to be yelled at, stop yelling at me I’ll yell back at ya,” Mr Silva says.

“Mate, you’re getting very close to being arrested,” the officer warns.

“No, no, you’re yelling at me,” Mr Silva says.

The officer asks for his name and address.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,” Mr Silva replies.

“I said name and address,” the officer.

“It’s on there [the licence],” Mr Silva says, as the officer repeats himself several times.

LISTEN Activist tells officer ‘your law does not apply to me as an Aboriginal man’ during traffic stop

In a statement, a NSW Police spokeswoman said officers attached to Mid North Coast Highway Patrol stopped a vehicle travelling on Lachlan Street, South Kempsey at about 4.15pm on March 30 after the driver was observed allegedly using his mobile phone.

“The 26-year-old male driver was spoken to before he left the location, allegedly excessively beeping the vehicle’s horn,” she said.

“He was issued two traffic infringement notices for driver use mobile phone when not permitted and use/allow use of horn/similar warning device unnecessarily.”

Mr Silva was one of the organisers of a Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney in July 2020, controversially held during Covid.

At the time, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the decision “appalling” and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian demanded it be cancelled.

Addressing the media about the pleas, Mr Silva claimed the Covid crisis was being used as “an excuse to silence us” and said the protest would “most definitely” go ahead.

“These protests are being singled out by the NSW police and the government and that’s because they see the support from all different nationalities, people of all different walks of life, and they know our message is definitely getting across,” he told reporters.

“They’re trying to silence us while using the pandemic as an excuse, but Westfield shopping centres, pubs and clubs are still chock-a-block. We put in substantial steps to make sure everyone is safe at these protests. Personally, I’d say they’re safer than your local pub because they’re conducted outdoors so there’s space for social distancing. We hand out hand sanitiser and masks for people that don’t have them.“

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The following year, Mr Silva attended an Invasion Day rally at the Domain in Sydney where thousands turned up to protest the date of Australia Day.

“People are out celebrating the day like it’s a birthday or Christmas when our ancestors were killed,” he said at the time.

“Our family has been demanding justice for five years. We’ve literally got f**k all.”