Beloved Sydney icon Danny Lim has been released from hospital following two days in a serious condition after a violent police arrest led to him hitting his head on Tuesday.

He suffered a brain bleed and a black eye and was referred to a neurosurgeon on Wednesday who decided on Thursday morning it was safe for him to return home. Lim’s lawyer Chris Murphy posted on Twitter that his condition would continue to be monitored.

A video of the 78-year-old’s arrest on Tuesday showed Lim appearing to fall headfirst into the tiled ground of the Queen Victoria Building while two police officers held his arms.

While he was on the floor, police handcuffed him and then sat him up. He could be seen bleeding from his forehead.

One witness has since come forward and told Guardian Australia Lim was begging the officers to call an ambulance minutes before police attempted to arrest him.

“He let them know very clearly that he had PTSD, and that he needed an ambulance,” the witness said.

“He voiced that very clearly at the outset. He became increasingly agitated as they approached him.”

When the witness interjected and asked Lim if they should call an ambulance, the officers threatened to charge them.

“The officer … said, ‘If you do that, we will charge you with hindering an arrest,’” the witness said.

“It didn’t seem like the sort of thing that you might use to de-escalate [the] situation.”

Lim also spoke to journalists from hospital following the incident and said he had informed the officers of his PTSD and asked for help.

“I told them to ring an ambulance … they refused,” he said.

NSW Police said in a statement Lim was asked to leave the QVB by security and didn’t. Security then called the cops.

“Police will allege the man was subsequently issued with a move-on direction and failed to comply,” the statement said.

“The man’s arrest was discontinued after he struggled with police and sustained an injury to his cheekbone.”

NSW Police initially announced an independent review of the incident but are now treating it as a complaint to be reviewed internally.

NSW Greens MP Sue Higginson wrote to the Police Commissioner demanding an independent review.

“This type of violent arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere. It is so important to have independent oversight of police operations to ensure that this type of violence is properly investigated and prosecuted if a crime has been committed,” she wrote.

“In 2019/20 the NSW Police were the subject of 298 civil suits that alleged a variety of actions including assault, battery, unlawful imprisonment and malicious prosecution. This is more than one each weekday of the year.”

A snap rally in Sydney protesting police brutality was called for Wednesday evening and another is scheduled in Newtown for Thursday.

Organisers called people to “stand for justice, stand for peaceful protest and stand up for Danny Lim”.

Attendees were asked to wear sandwich boards reminiscent of Lim’s iconic props.