Horrifying surveillance footage has been 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.
John, a retiree in Melbourne, Australia, was supposed to be enjoying his golden years in peace—but after his psychologist called the Australian equivalent of 911, 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 and 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 fucking 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.
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.
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.”
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) issued the following statement:
“Victoria Police, as their employer, is responsible for determining whether the officers are ‘stood down’ from policing duties while they are subject to investigation.”
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.
“Our practice is we conduct an initial inquiry,” Cornelius said. “It is too early at this stage to form an opinion of whether they should be stood down.”
Although his public statements welcomed the unwanted attention to the alleged abuse, Cornelius did say it was “concerning” that the incident was reported directly to IBAC, instead of Victoria Police.
“We welcome external scrutiny…and welcome the concerns the wider community may have,” Cornelius stated. But whether or not any disciplinary action or restitution will be made to John remains to be seen.
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.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said he has not 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.
This “professionalism” can be seen below: