Police have launched a fresh series of smears against a fan in the rapidly expanding row over their eviction of the dad and his special needs daughter at the A-League semi final last night.
At a hastily convened media conference, NSW Police top brass backed the eviction of Rory Carroll and his three young daughters by ten police officers and four security guards.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton insisted the row had blown up over Carroll trying to force his way past security to get a "better choice" of beer at the grandstand bar.
He also insisted he'd see no images of cops touching their guns in the row – and that Carroll and his three daughters had been evicted after causing a disruption when police confronted him.
However his claims are directly contradicted by the video taken on the night.
Carroll clearly explains in the video he just wanted to take his special needs daughter to the disabled toilet next to them which she has used all season.
A police officer is also seen with his hand on his gun holster during the discussion which ends when Carroll calmly accepts he has no choice but to leave.
The police later poured more petrol on the fire by saying Carroll had been banned from ANZ Stadium two years ago.
SEE THE VIDEO OF THE EVICTION HERE:
10 Uniformed Police and 4 security guards evict a father who wanted to take his disabled daughter to the closest toilet. @ALeague @9NewsSyd @SydneyFC #SYDvMVC #BigBlue #ALeague pic.twitter.com/MdXZSCv2Rq— Tom Miles (@TomMile43729676) May 12, 2019
NOW HEAR NSW POLICE'S VERSION
This afternoon Carroll took the unprecedented step of issuing a press release in a bid to try to clear his name over the attempted character assassination by NSW Police.
"What started off as a joyous occasion for my daughters and their friend, after halftime our evening turned into one to forget," he said in the media statement.
"On Sydney radio today, Assistant Commissioner of the NSW Police Mark Walton said that I was trying to access an area for Melbourne Victory fans to get full strength beer.
"I reject this out of hand.
"For a start, I was not drinking alcohol but Coca-Cola, not least because I was in charge of three young children.
"Second, if they really thought I was drinking alcohol, why didn’t they ask me to undertake a drink-driving test when I left the stadium with the children? They didn’t because they knew I wasn’t drinking.
"Third, here is what happened.
"The original issue arose because I anticipated my special needs daughter would require the bathroom facilities in the second half. As is prudent, I went to quickly check the disabled bathroom first to ensure this was in a clean state.
"Security officials tried to physically stop me from doing so, placing a hand on my arm. Even though this was physically threatening to me, I ignored them and proceeded to check the bathroom.
"When I returned to my seat, I was surrounded by armed police and stadium security officials.
"One particular police officer screamed at me in front of the children. When I calmly asked a question about why we could not use that particular toilet, he said I was being argumentative. A stadium security official then ordered me to leave as, in his view, I was supposedly inciting the crowd.
"I was doing no such thing, but merely trying to ascertain the basis on which I was being evicted. I had taken a photo of the small throng of police and security and this agitated them."
He added: "Because I had sole care of the three children, I told them to get ready to leave. At this point, a police officer actually suggested that I should leave the children at the stadium by themselves, which appeared to me to be a total disregard for their welfare.
"Today, the police have attempted to characterise this as me being evicted from the game, but not the children, yet I should leave the children by themselves for the remainder of the game."
The incident has sparked a massive backlash on social media – with many other fans revealing similar encounters with security and police at A-League games – prompting the high level response from NSW Police.
"All three children were traumatised by this intimidation, but particularly my special needs daughter," said Carroll.
"While this is a horrid experience for my family and I, sadly too many football fans experience similar for no good reason.
"It is an issue in our game that too often there is over-zealous policing and security gets things horribly wrong when it comes to our sport.
"These matters need to be addressed by Football Federation Australia, the A-League clubs, their contracted security firms and police authorities as, more than anything, it is turning good, loyal supporters away from our sport.
"I am a responsible family man who approached yesterday’s game with my daughters and their friend with great anticipation, joy, and pride to see our team play so well."
Football Federation Australia vowed to follow up the incident with police and stadium security in the wake of the row and after board members Remo Nogarotto and Joseph Carrozzi pledged to investigate on Twitter.
However this afternoon, they said there were now "conflicting accounts" on what had happened.
"An FFA representative spoke with the fan involved in the incident late last night," an FFA spokesman said.
"FFA also spoke with Police Commanders and the NSW Police Commissioner’s Office this morning and has received multiple stadium security incident reports over the course of this afternoon.
"There are conflicting accounts and a potential misunderstanding of the circumstances that led to the eviction.
"FFA will seek further discussion with stadium management and police to seek clarity around the level of response used to evict a single person. FFA continues to work with all parties, including the fan, to resolve the matter."