A CCTV footage showing an officer from the Ballarat Police kicking, stomping and pepper spraying a woman partially stripped and arrested for drinking in public last year was presented before an anti-corruption inquiry on Monday.
The footage was presented at the Victoria police station during the opening address of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission’s (IBAC) examination on numerous allegations of police brutality.
It has been uncovered that numerous complaints about police assault or failure to perform duty at the Ballarat Uniform Police Service Area have been lodged for over a number of years, according to Sky News Australia.
Jack Rush QC, the assisting counsel, revealed during the inquiry that Ballarat has more than three times the regular number of complaints against police officers on assault compared to similar stations.
The police officer who was caught kicking the woman defended his actions, explaining that it was a knee-jerk reaction. “She was quite aggressive in her tone and her language. I was in a prime position to get kicked,” Senior Constable Steven Repac told the inquiry.
Rush took issue with Repac’s comment, telling him that he kicked her “deliberately” and that he didn’t need to stomp on her legs.
However, Repac retorted that his actions were out of concern for his welfare as well as that of his fellow police officers. “I wasn’t going to take any chances. People don’t get foamed for no reason.”
The commission was informed that the 51-year-old woman who was not identified was held for 16 hours even though she was told she would be released after four hours.
Additionally, the woman was put into a shower and held in custody for another eight hours before being given a blanket, according to ABC News.
Police brutality takes place in different countries all over the world, with the United States having the most number of cases.
France is no stranger to it as well, as the country was accused for brutally evicting migrants from their shelters by humanitarian groups.