A 32-year-old Noongar man has alleged he was racially profiled and assaulted by up to 15 members of Victoria Police while on his way to work in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.
Korey Penny claimed he was riding his bicycle to work when he was verbally abused by the police officers and "forcibly tackled" him from his bike in an incident that left him injured and his property damaged.
Mr Penny told NITV News he believed the incident was a racist attack.
“They think they can get away with doing anything to us blackfellas. If I was a white person in a suit, I still would have been riding past,” he said.
Mr Penny was taken by ambulance from the scene to the hospital for injuries sustained to his arm. He said he has received no apology from Victoria Police.
The Australian Workers Union has shown its support and will lodge a complaint with Victoria’s Minister for Police condemning the incident and demanding the officers involved are held accountable.
Prominent West Australian activist and Menang/Wilaman man, Mervyn Eades, brought the incident to public attention on Thursday, posting images of Mr Penny and his damaged bike to social media.
Mr Eades told NITV News on Friday that he is calling for the police officers to be stood down without pay and charged for inflicting actual bodily harm.
“Talk time is finished, these officers simply need to be sacked and charged," said Mr Eades.
"We shouldn’t be screaming out for justice anymore. With everything happening around the world people need to stop talking and start doing something.”
Mr Eades said the social media response his post has received has been “massive” with many people expressing their outrage and joining him in calling for the Victorian Police to be held accountable.
“There is a lot of anger throughout our community and across Australia because this brings to light what our people see and face on a daily basis. He was set upon because of the colour of his skin, but it has become normalised and it’s not taken seriously,” Mr Eades said.
Mr Penny said he fears the trauma from this incident will follow him in years to come and is concerned that Australia is not working to eradicate racism or improve the treatment of Indigenous Australians.
“I thought we were moving forward, but the thing with the police is never going to stop, I’m afraid I’ll carry it with me from this incident and more incidents to come,” Mr Penny told NITV News.
A representative from Victorian Police said the officers involved were not aware of the man's Aboriginality at the time of the incident and intend to charge Mr Penny with traffic-related offences.
The representative also told NITV News that an internal debrief had been conducted, and they were satisfied with the use of force in this incident.