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Police accused of ‘taking it too far’ as footage of response to alleged fight emerges

Written by on May 19, 2024

Footage of a police officer repeatedly using a baton to hit a man outside a small country pub following an alleged brawl has sparked a horrified reaction from locals.

Police were called to a pub in Yea, 112 kilometres northeast of Melbourne, just after 10pm on Friday night following reports of a fight between a group of people.

Victoria Police claimed that the first officers on the scene found themselves “outnumbered” and “confronted with a highly dynamic scene”.

As a result, officers decided to deploy OC spray to separate those involved in the fight.

“As police were attempting to offer after-care, one of the men involved allegedly attempted to assault one of the officers by kicking out and punching,” Victoria Police said in a statement.

“While police were attempting to subdue that man, a woman has allegedly jumped on the back of a police officer while the second man attempted to grab the officer’s firearm.

“OC spray was again deployed and all three were taken into custody.”

Footage filmed by a witness and shared by 7News appears to show a police officer repeatedly striking a man with a baton.

In the video, the man begins walking, and the officer immediately yells at him to “get on the ground now” before hitting him with a baton, causing the man to fall to his knees.

The officer then yells at the man to “lie on your stomach now” as he hits the man again.

The Victorian Police officer then delivers a third blow, ordering the man to “put your hands out to the side”.

Witnesses can be heard gasping as the incident unfolds.

Witness Charlie Hill told 7News that the officer hit the man “in the ribs three times”.

“And he was down on the first one and it just was not right,” he said.

Another witness told the media outlet that the response from police “seemed very aggressive, especially for a small town”.

“Nothing really violent like that happens. I think they took it way too far,” they said.

Victoria Police said it was aware of footage that showed the “conduct of one officer in the latter stages of this incident”, adding that the matter had been referred to Professional Standards Command for review.

In another video, an officer was seen approaching a man with a taser as he sat on the ground.

As the officer neared, the man appeared to lay down on the ground slowly.

In the footage, a witness can be heard saying: “Oh one has a taser, he is going to get tasered. He just got tasered. That’s so f***ing unnecessary mate.”

However, Victoria Police corrected the record, saying a Taser was not deployed, citing a review of body-worn camera footage.

It is understood the officer activated the Taser and warned the offender to comply with directions, a common practice referred to as a “warning arc,” which is what resulted in the distinctive taser noise heard in the footage.

Three people were charged as a result of the alleged altercation.

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A 27-year-old Yea woman and 29-year-old Taggerty man were charged with affray, assaulting police and failing to leave licenced premises.

A 26-year-old Glenburn man was charged with affray and failing to leave licenced premises.

They were all bailed to appear before Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on 18 September.