Sports stars, media come together to raise thousands for ‘brave’ Cronulla riots cop

25-04-2020 by admin

Billy Dib, Dr Jamal Rifi, Craig Campbell and Morris Iemma came together for a charity soccer game. Photo: Sarah KeayesMore than $8,000 has been raised for former police officer Craig Campbell after media organisations joined with Muslim community leaders for a charity soccer tournament on Sunday.
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Campbell, 56, was the subject of an iconic photo duringthe Cronulla riots when the burlypolicemansaveda Middle Eastern couple on a train by furiously swinging his police baton to forcea mob of youths to back away.

However, on the 10thanniversary of the riotsin January this year,a Fairfax Media revealed Campbell’s life took a downward turn.

His bravery award was taken away after the police hierarchy deemed he used “excessive force”, he left the force with chronicPTSD andhenowlivesin a caravan in his parents’ driveway.

Campbell swings his baton in what would become an iconic photo from the Cronulla riots. Photo: Nick Moir

WhenBelmore GP and Muslim community leaderJamal Rifi heard about Campbell, he called upon former premier Morris Iemma to help createa football tournament to show the former police officerhow much the community appreciated his efforts.

Bulldogs legend Hazem El Masri, champion boxer Billy Dib and local sheikhsAhmed Abdoand Nabil Suckariewere among those wholed teams in the Craig Campbell Cohesion Cup at Punchbowl in Sydney’s weston Sunday.

The Auburn Giants,the Muslim Women’s Association, GranvilleBoys High School, the Australian Human Rights Commission and media organisations including the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABCalso competedand raised funds for Campbell and the Luke Batty Foundation.

Following the riot, the former police officer quit the force and moved into a caravan in his parents’ driveway. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Each of the 16 teams who participateddonated $500 to join the tournament. Several private donors have also contributed money, with the final figure raised to be revealed on Friday.

Campbell, who is still fighting for an injury payout to cover knee problems,cheered from the sidelines.

“When Dr Rifi contacted me, I was just like, wow, there are no words to describe it,” Campbell said. “Seeing that the public appreciate what I did, that’s worth more than anything to me.”

Dr Rifi read an article about Campbell’s situationwhen he was in the midst of a court battle against a group of protesters who wanted to stage a 10-year “celebration” of the Cronulla riots as a protest against multiculturalism.

“I was shocked because if there is anything that we should be remembering or celebrating about that day, it is the brave actions of this man,” he said.

Sixteen teams played in the Craig Campbell Cohesion Cup, each donating $500. Photo: IShare Media/Facebook

Since leaving the force, Campbell’s marriage broke down and now lives on$440-a-week workers’ compensation because he is unable to hold downa job due to hisPTSD.

Earlier this year, two Muslim men tracked down Campbell and travelled to Wollongong to takehim out for lunch and give himsome new clothes and cash that the community had raised.

The latest fundraiser remains open while a campaign is being run in Arabic language media.

Donations can be made through a dedicated account at the Bank of Sydney(BSB: 942206, Account:1209576).

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