In a ghastly incident of excessive use of police force, a young man suffering from bipolar disorder in Victoria, Australia, was severely assaulted by the police, leading to him being put in a medically-induced coma. The victim of the attack, Timothy Atkins, was first hit by a police car and then had an officer stomp on his head.
The incident took place in Epping which lies to the north of Melbourne. Atkins sought admission into a hospital as he found his mental health deteriorating. After waiting for a day and apparently not getting any help from the hospital, he left. That's when the staff of the medical facility informed the police.
Cops arrived around 4:10 PM and chased the man in their car, eventually striking him with the cruiser vehicle. After the man was thrown away, officers held the man on the ground while one of their colleagues stomped on his head. The latter act was committed by a senior constable who has since been suspended. Videos of the entire incident have been recorded by various bystanders and have shocked the nation.
Demands for an inquiry into the actions of the police have been raised. On their part, the Victoria Police have issued a statement where they claimed that the man attacked a police officer first.
"During the highly dynamic incident a police officer was assaulted and OC spray was deployed before the 32-year-old man, of no fixed address, was arrested and subsequently taken to hospital for assessment," the spokesperson of Victoria police said in an official statement. He also claimed that Atkins caused damage to a police car.
After the incident, the 32-year old victim was taken to hospital and put into a medically-induced coma. Shock and outrage have been expressed by various people and groups at this seeming use of excessive force. People are comparing the behavior of Victoria police to similar incidents in the US.
"It is 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," father of Timothy Atkins said.
The mood among the general public in Australia is already against the police. In a recent event, a pregnant woman was arrested for not following the guidelines for preventing spread of coronavirus. In another incident, a woman was forcefully tackled onto the ground and the hold was not relented even when she complained of feeling suffocated.