Video shows Victoria police car knock man to ground before officer appears to stomp on his head


Victorian civil rights groups have called for an independent investigation after a man was hit by a police car and appeared to have his head stomped on by an officer while held down.

The man was taken to hospital on Sunday afternoon and placed in an induced coma.

Videos of the alleged incidents were uploaded to social media.

“It is like watching a video from America or Beirut,” the man’s father told the Herald Sun.

“Police are not above the law, they should be held accountable. They were kicking him and he wasn’t even fighting back. It was extremely excessive.”

Victoria police say they were called to the street of the Northern hospital in Epping after reports of a man behaving erratically about 4.10 pm on Sunday.

One of the videos, posted online by a Seven News reporter, shows the man standing in the middle of a road. A police car drives towards him and he appears to briefly stand in front of the vehicle before turning away.

As he walks away the police car appears to accelerate, hitting him and knocking him to the ground.

Another video, seemingly taken several minutes later, shows the man held to the ground, surrounded by six officers. When the man raises his head one officer appears to use their foot to stomp him back to the ground.

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Onlookers can be heard yelling at the officers, shouting, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

A spokeswoman for Victoria police said “the male allegedly became aggressive and damaged a police vehicle whilst attempting to avoid arrest”.

“During the highly dynamic incident a police officer was assaulted and OC spray was deployed before the 32-year-old man, of no fixed address, was arrested and subsequently taken to hospital for assessment.”

She confirmed the man was still in hospital as of noon on Monday and no charges had been laid. The police’s professional standards command is investigating the arrest.

Anthony Kelly executive office of the Flemington-Kensington legal centre’s Police Accountability Project said the independent anti-corruption watchdog, IBAC, must investigate the arrest.

“From the video, it looks like it’s excessive and unwarranted use of force. Any sort of blow to the head is extremely dangerous and can lead to permanent head injuries,” he said.

“Police are more likely to prioritise and privilege the police’s view of the scenario, rather than an objective analysis of the use of force.”

A spokesman for the civil rights group, Liberty Victoria, agreed the case should be referred to IBAC. Ruth Barson, the legal director at the Human Rights Law Centre, agreed.

A spokesperson for IBAC said they are unable to comment on whether a complaint has been made for “legal and operational reasons”.

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His father told Melbourne radio station 3AW his son was suffering from severe mental illness and had been hospitalised immediately prior to the incident.

His father said his son was placed in an induced coma and required head scans.

“Something has got to be done, I do not want this brushed aside. This bloke needs to be accountable. He needs to lose his job, policemen like that should not be in a job.”

His father said his son did not have a history of violence.

He confirmed the man’s wife was investigating legal recourse against Victoria Police.

Police Accountability Project’s principal lawyer Gregor Husper said striking the man with a police car was vastly disproportionate.

“At the point where he’s walking away from them, what possible justification can the police have for driving into him? Other than if that person is going to cause a terror event,” he said.

“Certainly not to effect an arrest, it’s way excessive for that.”

Police confirmed OC spray was used during the arrest, which Husper said may explain the orange hue of the man’s skin as he was being held down and allegedly stomped on.

“Yes, it looks like he was getting up, but a person with OC spray is absolutely going to be moving around to try to relieve themselves a bit of the pain that they would be experiencing. It’s just not possible that they going to lie down,” he said.

“If this was a mental health incident, mental health professionals should be the first responders, and in fact should take control to be the lead responders … all too often we’ve seen people experiencing a mental health episode who then suffer more harm because of police attendance,” he said.

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This incident came only hours after hundreds of police in full riot gear and on horseback arrested 74 anti-lockdown protesters at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.

Earlier on Sunday footage emerged of a woman being dragged from her car at a checkpoint around 60km north of the city after she refused to give her name or details to police officers.

A spokeswoman for Victoria police said she was being questioned over “her mobile phone [allegedly] obstructing her view due to its position on the windscreen”.

The footage showed the officer unlocking the car door and physically pulling the woman from the car as she yelled and a male passenger clung to her, shouting “she has anxiety”.

She was later released from custody. She was expected to be charged with six offences, including assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

Kelly said that, although these two incidents did not appear to be facilitated by the state of disaster currently in place in Victoria, the Police Accountability Project was concerned with the increased police powers during this time.

The organisation has released a list of 10 concerns over policing during stage four lockdowns, including increasing the risk of heavy policing being normalised.

Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636





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