Australia

'He didn't deserve it': Brother of man involved in Melbourne head-stomping arrest speaks of 'inhumane' incident

Footage of the incident in which an officer appears to stomp on a man's head / Bryce Atkins (centred). Source: Supplied / SBS News

A police officer has been suspended and Victoria's anti-corruption body is investigating after footage of the man's arrest circulated on social media.

The brother of a man who was hit by a car and stomped on during a Melbourne arrest says it was traumatic and heartbreaking to see video of the "inhumane" incident. 

"It made me feel sick, sort of thing, to see someone mistreating my brother like that," Bryce Atkins told SBS News on Tuesday.

"It's pretty disgusting."

A police officer has been suspended and Victoria's anti-corruption body is investigating after footage of the man's arrest circulated on social media.

Video appeared to show the senior constable kicking the head of Mr Atkins' brother while he was on the ground at Epping on Sunday, and a police car hitting him as he walked in front of it.

0:00

The 32-year-old, who has bipolar disorder, spent time in an induced coma following the incident.

Mr Atkins said the video was "pretty traumatic" and "to see that happen to a loved one is pretty heartbreaking".

He said his brother was an "everyday tradie" and family man who had been brought up to respect everyone and had never been in legal trouble.

"What (the police) did was inhumane and disgusting and shouldn't happen in this day and age," Mr Atkins said.

"He did not deserve it. He was not out in the public to hurt anyone."

Bryce Atkins has spoken out about his brother's arrest.
Bryce Atkins has spoken out about his brother's arrest.
SBS News

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson on Tuesday said the incident came after Mr Atkins' brother went to Northern Hospital for mental health treatment on Saturday night.

He was still waiting for treatment about 4pm on Sunday when he allegedly broke some glass doors exiting the facility and police were called.

"It was a very dynamic situation with the man running amongst traffic, kicking a police vehicle, at one stage he hops on the bonnet of a police vehicle, and then we see the police vehicle hit the man and then members tackle the man to the ground," Dept. Comm. Paterson said. 

He said he'd seen footage of the incident and thought it "an inappropriate use of force by a police member with regard to the kick, or the stomp, to the head of the man involved in that incident".

"I've also formed the view that the use of force in using a police vehicle with the man involved in that incident is concerning," Dept. Comm. Paterson said.

The driver has had their authority to drive a police vehicle withdrawn.

Mr Atkins said his brother wasn't someone who would ever hurt anyone, adding that he "just wanted to get out of the hospital".

He said he wasn't getting the treatment he needed.

The man's lawyer, Jeremy King, said stomping on the head of a restrained person was "gratuitous, it's dangerous and it's pretty savage".

"This has had a devastating impact on the family. They're all shocked and distressed, as you would imagine, and they've really been through hell and back," Mr King told SBS News.

Lawyer Jeremy King
Lawyer Jeremy King
SBS News

The Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) on Tuesday confirmed it was investigating the incident.

"The community is rightfully concerned if someone is injured during an interaction with police," IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich said in a statement.

"Given the potentially serious nature of this incident, IBAC has determined it is in the public interest to independently investigate this matter."

With additional reporting by AAP. 

Readers seeking support with mental health can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.auEmbrace Multicultural Mental Health supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch