‘He’s Choking Me’: Arrest of Unmasked Melbourne Woman to Face Scrutiny

August 11, 2020 Updated: August 11, 2020

The professional standards command of the Victorian police will examine the arrest of a woman in Melbourne after a video emerged of a male officer allegedly placing his hands around the woman’s neck during the arrest.

In the video of the arrest, the woman who was reportedly being questioned for not wearing a face mask can be seen yelling: “He’s choking me. He’s choking me. Get off of me. Get off.”

She then lashes out at a female officer, kicking her in the chest, before being taken to the ground.

“Tell me what the [expletive] I’ve done?” the woman asks.

As she was led away to a police van, a male filming the arrest says: “She’s got a note from the doctor. Youse are [expletive]”.

The video was uploaded and shared on social media.

A police spokesperson told The Epoch Times on Aug. 11 that they arrested the woman after she refused to provide identification for breaching the Chief Health Officier’s directions in Collingwood.

“Officers were patrolling on Wellington Street when they observed the woman not wearing a face covering at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 10,” the spokesperson said.

“She also did not state she had an exemption for not wearing a face covering.”

The 21-year-old woman became physically aggressive and kicked a female officer in the upper body. She was not fined but was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting police and bailed out to face court later.

The female officer was transported to the hospital for observation.

The Human Rights Law Centre issued a joint statement on Aug. 11, calling for the Victorian government to guarantee that the new state of disaster police powers are properly scrutinized.

“We don’t want increased police powers to become the new normal—the powers must end as soon as the pandemic does,” wrote Monique Hurley, a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre.

Nerita Wright of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service agrees. In the joint statement, she explained she believes Victorian police should prioritise implementing public health messaging and assisting people “to comply with the current restrictions.”

“Arresting people will not achieve positive outcomes for the Victorian community, and such an approach would be at odds with expert advice that we need to curb admissions to detention to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19 in detention and in the community,” Wright said.

This article has been updated to include the Victoria Police statement.

Follow Caden on Twitter: @cadenpearson