Horrifying surveillance footage was released that shows multiple police officers aggressively assaulting and torturing a disabled man in his front yard after they dragged him from his home during a welfare check. Now, that footage has led to the arrest of two police officers.
It was announced today that the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission charged a constable with unlawful assault and assault with a weapon, and a senior constable with unlawful assault over the incident.
As TFTP reported, the incident happened in September of last year and began over a welfare check.
John, a retiree from Melbourne, Australia, was supposed to be enjoying his golden years in peace—but after his psychologist called the police, all hell broke loose. Victoria Police arrived to presumably perform an unwanted welfare check. When John refused to speak with the officers, they dragged him into the yard, beat him, pepper-sprayed him, and then hosed him down with his own water hose—all while mocking him.
The entire incident was caught on video recording principally because the homeowner had installed a surveillance system after his house was previously burglarized. In the graphic video, Victoria Police can be heard taunting the elderly man, cursing at him, beating him in the legs with their batons and covering his face with pepper spray.
"You f**king idiot!...You like that?...Smells good, doesn’t it?" the officers mocked him.
The man, who suffers from a bad back and emotional distress can be heard screaming “My back!” as the pack of officers manhandle him.
The officers’ true intentions were revealed when they were presumably attempting to wash off the pepper spray with which they had filled his face. When the one officer with the hose started applying the water, the nozzle’s setting was set to hose. Later, the setting was changed to spray, and a solid stream of water was applied to the man's head and face, likely injuring John further.
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When the officer with the hose noticed his fellow officer was recording with his cell phone, he stepped back, as if to imply by his actions that he did not want to be caught on camera abusing the man. But caught on camera he was—just not the one he believed his colleague was holding.
Upon the arrest, officers charged the man with assault but the recording tells a much different story. Not only did the man not call authorities, he asked them several times to leave him in peace. When he refused to comply with their unlawful orders, the man was violently mistreated.
At the time, officials and politicians weighed in on the attack. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy told reporters, “All Victorians will be outraged by it," and called the actions of the police officers “abhorrent."
Acting Commissioner Luke Cornelius called the CCTV "concerning" and said, “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” welcoming external scrutiny of his department’s actions in John’s case. And, it appears that external scrutiny has yielded a small victory for police accountability.
Victoria Police responded with their own statement provided to 9News, claiming their department, "has no tolerance for poor behavior within its ranks...Our officers make mistakes like anyone else, and when that happens, we learn from that."
At the time, Premier Daniel Andrews admitted that he never watched the footage but he defended the Victoria Police Force. "Victoria Police, as the nation's best police force, conduct themselves with professionalism and in my experience proportionate to the risk that they face," he said.
The officers are set to appear in court on October 11.
This "professionalism" can be seen below: