CCTV footage of six Victoria Police officers appearing to use excessive force against a disabled pensioner has been released, as the man beaten during the incident presses forward with a civil suit and an official complaint about the incident.
The October 2017 video, obtained by The Age, was captured on security cameras installed by ‘John‘ at his Preston home. Originally intended to ward off burglars, they instead filmed the distressing incident.
John’s psychologist had called 000 to ask police to check on him, citing concerns over his anxiety and depression. The video shows the officers arrive on John’s porch, asking him to step outside to speak to them.
An audibly distressed John – who has a minor assault case on his record from ten years ago – can be heard telling the officers that he’s alright, and that they should leave. The Age reports John was tapering off from strong painkillers prescribed for a chronic back condition at the time of the incident.
The officers remain on site.
When John does open the door, video captures him leaving with an arm raised in the direction of an officer. The officer deploys capsicum spray to John’s face as the others force him onto the lawn.
With several officers pinning John down, one officer repeatedly beats his leg with a baton. Another sprays John’s face with capsicum spray at point blank range. After seating John upright, an officer uses a high-pressure garden hose to blast the spray off his face as another officer films on his phone.
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Now, John has filed a complaint with the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC), and also intends to sue Victoria Police over the brutal incident.
John’s lawyer Jeremy King says civil action could be a more powerful tool to redress the situation given the very low number of complaints upheld by IBAC.
In a statement, Victoria Police said it “has no tolerance for poor behaviour in its ranks” and that “we will examine carefully any new evidence contained in today’s media reports.
“If matters need to be revisited then that is what will occur.”