Victoria Police under investigation over arrest of unmasked Melbourne woman
The arrest of an unmasked woman will face scrutiny by Victoria Police’s professional standards command, as human rights groups and lawyers call for robust oversight of the force’s expanded COVID-19 powers.
A 21-year-old woman from St Kilda became involved in an altercation on Monday afternoon after officers spotted her not wearing a mask in Collingwood.
Video has emerged of a male officer placing his hands around the woman’s neck during the arrest.
WATCH THE ARREST VIDEO IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
“He’s choking me. He’s choking me. Get off of me. Get off,” the woman yells.
She then lashes out at a female officer, kicking her in the chest, before being taken to the ground.
“Tell me what the f*** I’ve done?” the woman asks.
As she’s led away to a police van, a male filming the arrest says: “She’s got a note from the doctor. Youse are f***ed”.
Police say she refused to provide her name and address and didn’t state she had an exemption for disobeying coronavirus health requirements to wear a mask.
She was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting police and bailed to face court at a later date.
“She did not receive a fine for failing to wear a face-covering because she later told police she had an exemption,” Victoria Police said in a statement on Tuesday.
The arrest has been referred to Victoria Police’s professional standards command for oversight.
Speaking to 7News in Melbourne, the 21-year-old confirmed she had a medical exemption but admitted she initially gave police the finger when asked why she wasn’t wearing a mask.
But she says the arrest that followed was unnecessary and painful.
Another 202 fines were dished out in the past 24 hours from 4529 spot checks on homes, businesses and public places, police revealed on Tuesday.
They include 70 people fined $1652 for breaching Melbourne’s 8pm-5am curfew and 33 fined $200 for failing to wear a face mask.
A man told police he was practising to become a DJ when discovered in someone else’s home.
Another found sitting in his car at a Maribyrnong car park said he was out for some peace and quiet as his housemate and their intimate partner were being “too loud in the bedroom”.