Police officer suspended over Melbourne head-stomp arrest

Victoria Police has suspended an officer over his involvement in the arrest of a man in Melbourne’s north on Sunday afternoon.Key points:Footage of the arrest appeared to show an officer stomping on the man’s head as he lay on the groundThe man’s lawyer says he was put into an induced coma in hospital as doctors ran tests to determine his injuriesThe matter is being investigated by Victoria Police’s internal complaints body, but the man’s lawyer wants an independent investigationFootage of the man’s arrest was posted to social media, including a moment when one of the officers making the arrest appears to stomp on the man’s head as he lies on the ground, surrounded by other officers.A Victoria Police statement said a senior constable from the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) had been suspended following his involvement in the incident, which started at the Northern Hospital at Epping.”Professional Standards Command continue to investigate the matter and are currently assessing all available information,” the statement said.Robinson and Gill principal lawyer Jeremy King, who is representing the arrested man, told the ABC yesterday his client had not committed a crime and was being treated for mental health issues at the time of the arrest.”Really he’s a person that the police should be dealing with in a very unique way,” he said.”They should be recognising that he’s a vulnerable person and this isn’t a situation … where police are pursuing an offender.”Mr King said the man, who was in an induced coma at the Northern Hospital yesterday, was now conscious and receiving a high level of care as doctors ran tests to assess his injuries.He said there must be an independent investigation, separate to that of Professional Standards Command, to ensure the matter was examined objectively and thoroughly.Anti-corruption watchdog flagged concerns with CIRT in AprilVictoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) flagged concern over “ongoing and potentially systemic issues” within CIRT in an April report into the botched raid on the Hares and Hyenas bookstore, which ended in an innocent man’s arm being badly broken.”These issues include use of force, training and capability around key functions, and inadequacies in CIRT’s policies and procedures,” IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich said.Commissioner Redlich asked then-chief commissioner Graham Ashton to report back on those issues by June, when IBAC would decide whether further action was necessary.The ABC has contacted IBAC and asked whether the report was received, what was in the report and if further action was taken.Police are urging anyone who witnessed the incident or has footage of it to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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