The family of a man who was driven into by police and is in an induced coma after being stomped on is calling for an independent investigation into what happened.
Footage has shown police driving at a man moments before officers appeared to kick and stomp on his head during a dramatic Melbourne arrest Sunday afternoon.
Video of 32-year-old Heathcote Junction man Timothy Atkins’ arrest, in the northern suburb of Epping, was shot from a car by a passer-by and shared to social media on Sunday night.
Mr Atkin’s brother Bryce described the move as a “dog act” and said: “I’m just disgusted with what police think they can get away with,” he said according to The Herald Sun.
“It is in inhumane. To see him in a coma breaks my heart.”
His father, Glenn Atkins said he respects police but “this is not Australian.”
“They don’t need to do that to a person with a mental illness, who didn’t even fight back. My son was scared and confused. No one can tell me this was the right thing to do.”
The family are now calling for an independent investigation and exploring their legal options.
Robinson and Gill lawyer Jeremy King, who is representing the arrested man according to the ABC, said the man was being treated for mental health issues and should have been dealt with in a unique way. “The community needs independent investigation of serious police misconduct to have any faith that it has been investigated properly, that it has been investigated objectively and that those involved in it if they are found to have committed misconduct, will be held to account,” he said.
“There’s an inherent bias with police investigating their own and that’s why this needs to be independently investigated.” New footage has emerged of the man being hit by a police car before being arrested. Dramatic footage of the man's arrest was shared to social media last night. The man’s father said he was sickened by his son’s arrest.
Mr Atkins was being treated at the Northern Hospital in Epping for a bipolar episode this weekend when he fled, prompting staff who feared the for his safety to call the police. In the footage, four officers surround the man as a siren wails, with one officer appearing to kick the man from the front while another officer behind Mr Atkins brings up one foot and appears to stomp it down on his head.
The couple who filmed the incident unleashed on social media, labelling the situation “violent” and “barbaric”, and could be heard in the video commenting on how “f**ked up” the scene unfolding in front of them was.
Further footage of the arrest has been shared by 7 News, showing Mr Atkins walking along the street before he is struck by a police vehicle. News.com.au understands it happened just before he was arrested.
Speaking to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell Monday, Mr Atkins’ distraught father, Glenn, said he was devastated by the incident, calling it “disgusting” and revealing his son is now in a coma as a result of the incident.
“I couldn’t sleep last night, I was so upset,” he said, calling for the police officer to lose his job over the alleged act of violence.
“The police had no right to do what they did.” Glenn told the Herald Sun that the footage was “like watching a video from America, or Beirut”.
“Police are not above the law, they should be held accountable. They were kicking him and he wasn’t even fighting back. It was extremely excessive,” he said.
“Timothy is a gentle giant, he has never been in trouble with the law. I feel sick to my guts, I am filled with anger seeing that video. I couldn’t sleep last night, I am full of anger and sadness.”
He said that he “would not have minded if they sprayed him to subdue him and get him back to the hospital which is where he needs to be, but no one can tell me this was the right thing to do”.
In a statement Sunday night, Victoria Police said that officers were called to Cooper Street at about 4:10 pm to reports of a man behaving erratically.
“Upon arrival, the man allegedly became aggressive and damaged a police vehicle whilst attempting to avoid arrest,” Victoria Police said.
“During the highly dynamic incident a police officer was assaulted and OC spray was deployed before the man was arrested and subsequently taken to hospital for assessment.
“The arrest has been referred to Professional Standards Command for oversight.”