A Gold Coast mother says she wants an apology after she was arrested in her underwear in front of her neighbours and 12-year-old daughter over an unpaid petrol bill.
Belinda Goodwin was dragged out of her Gold Coast apartment by two officers on Saturday after failing to return to a petrol station and pay $58 for fuel she pumped into her car at a 7 Eleven in June. She had reportedly been unable to pay for it at the time because her Apple Pay app wasn’t working so she told a worker she would return with the money but never did.
Ms Goodwin received a notice to appear in court two months later but said she was led to believe that once she paid, she would not need attend and the case would be closed.
Instead, officers showed up at her door and arrested her for failing to appear in court.
“So I open the door and I was like, literally naked. And, they just said, ‘Can you put something on? We’re going to come and sit and talk to you’,” Ms Goodwin told the program.
Ms Goodwin’s daughter, Summer, filmed the distressing moment her mother was then forcibly taken by police and hurled away into a van.
“It was very humiliating for me as well because like, we just moved in like what if they thought that my mum had done something very wrong,” Summer told A Current Affair.
In the footage, officers can be heard telling Belinda ‘You’re under arrest’ before she tells them “I’ve never been arrested before” and screams for help from neighbours.
Ms Goodwin can be heard asking what she had done as she was dragged out of her home in front of Summer.
“What for? What have I done?’ and the officer says, ‘You’re under arrest by virtue of a warrant”.
In the footage, Ms Goodwin ask the officers, “You’re going to leave my child here?” to which one replies, ‘Yes, she’s 12.”
Jenny, who lives next door and barely knew her new neighbours, looked after Summer during Ms Goodwin’s arrest.
“Just completely over the top. It was so aggressive, so aggressive. You would think she’s a murderer or something,” she said.
“She (Summer) didn’t know where her mum was going, how long she would be gone for, she had no contact details, she had her mother’s phone so she had no way to contact her, and she was just in tears.
“She had no key to get back up there.”
In the clip, an officer tells an increasingly distressed Summer: “Your room is all unlocked, you’re able to stay by yourself, you’re 12 years old. OK?”
Summer asks, “How long? I’ve never stayed by myself … Do I have to stay by myself for a night?’”
The officer then replies, “No, not for a night. She’ll be back soon.”
The officers continually asked her to “stand up” after she falls to the ground numerous times.
Shortly after locking her mother in the back of the van, the officers told Summer to stay at home alone while Ms Goodwin was taken to the local station and processed.
The officers then returned shortly after to ask the distraught girl to get a pair of pants for Ms Goodwin as she couldn’t go to the station in just her underwear.
Several of Ms Goodwin’s neighbours at the apartment complex where the family had recently moved in came outside after being alerted by the commotion.
Ms Goodwin told A Current Affair she wants an apology from police.
“I want a public apology. I want them to come here and apologise to my neighbours. I want them to apologise to my daughter,” she said.
“I just want them to say sorry like they shouldn’t have done that,” Summer added.
In a statement, a QLD Police spokesperson said a senior supervisor reviewed “the body worn camera footage of the officer’s interactions in this matter which were found to be considered, appropriate and lawful”.
“Once the woman was advised she was being placed under arrest she became obstructive to officers, refusing to accompany them willingly, at which time a 12-year-old girl at the property became upset,” it read.
“Given the short period of time the woman was expected to be with police, neighbours cared for the child while officers dealt with the woman before returning her home.
“The matter regarding the alleged, outstanding fuel payment was just one of the matters police wanted to speak to the woman about, but it was not the primary purpose officers attended.
“Regarding the stealing complaint, police have not received any advice from the service station of a desire to withdraw the matter.”