Lawyers for an Indigenous man who was unlawfully arrested have criticised his treatment by police, saying officers ignored the man's requests to see a nurse.
Luke Marsh was baselessly arrested for being "drunk and disorderly" in May last year in a serious misuse of police power, a magistrate found last month.
Marsh was at the time walking down the street in the early hours of the morning, alone.
Special Magistrate Jane Campbell found he was only arrested for being drunk and disorderly because it was easier than taking him into custody to question him about an earlier alleged assault.
During the encounter, Marsh was handcuffed and confined to the back of the van when he was pepper sprayed by the arresting officer, Senior Constable Julian Carey.
On arrival at the watchhouse, surveillance footage shows Marsh was briefly given the chance to wash his eyes when officers brought him out from the van.
When he was inducted to the watchhouse moments later, Marsh can be seen in the footage red-faced and still apparently suffering the effects of the pepper spray.
He told police his face was burning, that he "[couldn't] breathe properly", and asked to see a nurse.
Dean Rutherford, managing solicitor at the Aboriginal Legal Service office in Canberra, said their client was never properly decontaminated.
"He then gets locked up at the police station and makes a request for medical attention," Mr Rutherford said.
"He makes repeated attempts for medical attention. These requests were ignored. You can see the distress he was in."
Mr Rutherford made the point that Marsh's treatment by police was all caught on surveillance footage.
"But what about the police conduct towards Aboriginal people that isn't recorded? Which more than often, it isn't," he said.
"Can you imagine how difficult it becomes for us to try to defend Aboriginal people against this type of police conduct when the cameras aren't rolling?"
You can see the distress he was in.Dean Rutherford, ALS Canberra managing solicitor
Mr Rutherford said the police involved needed to be held accountable.
"The question is this: who is going to make them accountable? Are the police officers involved going to have any type of disciplinary action or charges laid against them?" he asked.
"I doubt it."
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service chief executive Julie Tongs said the treatment of Marsh was disgusting.
"Haven't they learned anything?" she said.
"When a person asks to see a nurse, you know, this is why we've got so many deaths in custody, because they just dismiss it, they ignore them."
She also questioned why so many officers were needed on top of Marsh in the cells.
His arrest is currently under investigation by professional standards.
An ACT Policing spokesman defended the actions of officers at the watchhouse, saying police were satisfied the conduct was in line with policies and procedures.
He said officers were trained in first aid, and that people in custody in the watchhouse had access to medical help from a nurse when requested or needed.
He said that because of Marsh's escalating behaviour, and out of consideration for the safety of the nurse, Marsh was "closely monitored" by surveillance cameras and via check-ins by officers.
"ACT Policing takes the welfare of detainees seriously; however, in some cases, physical restraint by multiple officers is required for the safety of both the detainee and police," the spokesman said.
Marsh was given the opportunity to decontaminate at an emergency water station as soon as he was brought out of the van, he added.
"It should be noted that the amount of time required to decontaminate a person after OC spray exposure varies widely."