Two NSW police officers charged with assaulting 92-year-old man in Sydney

<span>Two NSW police officers have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm against a 92-year-old man.</span><span>Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP</span>
Two NSW police officers have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm against a 92-year-old man.Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Two New South Wales police officers have been charged with assaulting a 92-year-old man who was later admitted to hospital with a fractured elbow and significant bruising to his head and arms.

The alleged assault occurred at a home in Picton, in Sydney’s south-west, in January after police were called to a domestic violence incident by the elderly man’s wife, who had made two calls to triple zero and “likely” had dementia.

The NSW police commissioner, Karen Webb, told reporters on Thursday the 92-year-old’s injuries occurred while he was handcuffed by police.

Webb said the man’s wife likely had dementia and it was “too hard to say” whether or not a domestic violence incident had taken place.

Related: NSW police urged to improve mental health training after string of deaths involving vulnerable people

“It’s obviously a complex matter when you’ve got someone elderly, someone who has mental decline through dementia or through something else, that can’t actually articulate any concerns to police properly,” Webb said. “That will all form part of the investigation and the police response.”

Webb said she wasn’t sure of the 92-year-old man’s current living circumstances, but said he had received support from the police force since the incident.

After an internal investigation, a senior constable and a constable were served court attendance notices on Wednesday. Both officers were charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The constable was facing a further charge of assault.

“What the court will need to determine is whether there was excessive force used in that interaction,” Webb said.

Webb told reporters she had viewed the officers’ body-camera footage of the incident and she had her own “thoughts and feelings” on what was captured. However, the commissioner said she did not want to comment as the matter was before the court.

One of the officers was scheduled to appear at Campbelltown local court on 30 July while the other was due to appear at the same court on 6 August.

Both officers were suspended with pay, NSW police said.

Asked whether it was time to admit there was an issue with police training in responding to mental health incidents, Webb told reporters she had confidence in officers’ responses.

“We respond to over 2 million calls for service across this organisation across NSW every year. Over 140,000 are just domestic violence,” she said.

“If there are occasions that we have some concerns about the way we respond, then we will investigate – like we’ve done in this matter.”