Australian policeman suspended over arrest of man allegedly hit by a police car and kicked in head by officer

Giovanni Torre
·2-min read
Protective services officers patrol along the St Kilda Beach foreshore in Melbourne - AFP 
Protective services officers patrol along the St Kilda Beach foreshore in Melbourne - AFP

Australian police officers are under criminal investigation after video emerged of them ramming a man with their vehicle and one of the officers kicking him in the head during an arrest in Melbourne.

It was announced on Tuesday that Victoria’s independent anti-corruption body will probe the incident, which has seen one of the officers suspended.

The 32-year-old man in the video is now in hospital in an induced coma, after the arrest on Sunday.

His father, Glenn Atkins, has called for the senior constable who kicked his son's head to be fired from Victoria Police.

Mr Atkins told local media that his son, who has bipolar disorder, had gone to the Northern Hospital for treatment before running outside to meet a work colleague, which prompted hospital staff to call the police.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson said on Tuesday that he had seen the video and “it's an inappropriate use of force by a police member with regard to the kick, or the stomp, to the head of the man involved in that incident”.

“I've also formed the view that the use of force in using a police vehicle with the man involved in that incident is concerning,” he said.

The officer who allegedly kicked the man has been suspended, on full pay, and the officer who drove the car that struck the man has been banned from driving police vehicles.

Deputy Commissioner Paterson said the arrested man was waiting for treatment when he allegedly broke some glass doors exiting the facility and police were called.

He said Victoria Police would hand its evidence and records of the incident to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), which would take over a criminal investigation into the matter.

In a statement, IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich confirmed the police oversight agency would independently investigate the arrest.

“Given the potentially serious nature of this incident, IBAC has determined it is in the public interest to independently investigate this matter,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Paterson, which pressed on the striking of the man with a vehicle, said the man had been violent at the hospital and police were concerned he would attempt to carjack a vehicle.

He said while IBAC would conduct its own investigation into the arrest, Victoria Police would review the matter and its training policies. He said “using a kicking action or any action against the head of a person is not trained by Victoria Police, that is outside of our accepted training within Victoria Police”.