Police brutality confronting

April 07, 2018

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has described footage of police brutality in Melbourne as abhorrent.

‘‘I don’t think there is any excuse for what we saw or what was videoed,’’ Mr Guy said, in Shepparton on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, The Age published footage of a mentally ill pensioner being pinned down by six officers on the front lawn of his Preston home, beaten with a baton, doused in capsicum spray and blasted in the face with water

‘‘The instance which was shown was very concerning, no doubt about it,’’ Mr Guy said.

‘‘I think anyone who saw that vision would be appalled by the brutality taking place from anyone, particularly from law enforcement officials.’’

Shepparton police Inspector Troy Hargadon said Victoria Police had no tolerance for poor behaviour within its ranks.

‘‘Should a member of the community have cause to make complaint, I want them to have confidence that when they make a complaint against police, it will be investigated thoroughly and with integrity,’’ he said.

‘‘Police are working tirelessly to provide the best possible service at all times in often difficult circumstances with integrity and professionalism.’’

Three officers involved in the footage have since been suspended and Mr Guy said the issue needed to be dealt with the upmost importance.

‘‘It’s a disciplinary issue which the police need to deal with, it’s one they need to be given all support (too),’’ he said.

‘‘I think that we need to put all stops out to ensure that does not happen, that there are appropriate penalty mechanisms, disciplinary mechanisms in place.’’

In another incident, a man who robbed a pharmacy in Preston while in a psychotic state was repeatedly punched, clubbed with a baton and stomped on while being held down on the floor.

That incident has been referred for investigation after initially being deemed by Victoria Polices internal affairs unit, known as the Professional Standards Command, as not serious enough to require sanctions.

In a third case, a handcuffed young Indigenous man was thrown by an officer against the metal door of a cell inside Bendigo police station.

Responding to details of multiple cases of alleged police brutality, Police Minister Lisa Neville said: ‘‘You don’t tar the whole police force by a few incidents.’’

She denied Victoria Police had a cultural problem within its ranks or an inability to reliably investigate its own.

Ms Neville acknowledged that the reports and footage were ‘‘very confronting’’.

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