“Look at what you’re doing over a mask! She’s a girl! You’re choking her!”
A distressing video showing an Australian police officer choking a woman, apparently for not wearing a mask, is circulating online.
The incident occurred in Melbourne, which is under strict coronavirus lockdown rules.
The disturbing eight-minute clip shows a male officer clearly grabbing the struggling woman by the throat, holding her up against a wall, tripping her to the ground and kneeling on top of her, all while his female partner stands and watches.
“He’s choking me! What the f–k?” Get the f–k off me, you’re choking me!” she yells at the officer, who towers over her. “What have I done wrong?”
A man — who later claims to be her boyfriend — is recording the whole ordeal as the woman screams in distress on the ground.
“Look at what you’re doing over a mask! She’s a girl! You’re choking her! You’re pathetic! Get off her!” he shouts at the officer, who is unmoved.
After asking from the ground several times what she is being arrested for, the cop — who eventually identifies himself as Chris Scott — tells her it’s for assaulting a police officer.
The video does not show what led up to the confrontation, but the witness insists the police were the aggressors.
“You grabbed her! You didn’t ask her any questions, you just grabbed her!” he shouts.
Despite both telling the police the woman has a doctor’s note excusing her from wearing a mask, the arrest continues; several more police officers descend on the scene, and warn the man to stay back or he will be arrested too.
Australia has recorded more than 21,000 cases of COVID-19, and 331 deaths, compared to the the US which has recorded 5.2million cases and 166,000 deaths.
Comparatively, Australia has 850 cases per million population and just 13 deaths, while the US has 15,864 cases per million population and 502 deaths.
Nevertheless, Australia’s lockdown rules remain far more strict; residents are under curfew and cannot leave the house between 8 PM and 5 AM except for work, medical or care-giving reasons. Anyone caught breaking curfew or leaving the home during permitted hours without a mask can be fined $200 (US$140) on the spot.
All weddings have been banned, as have recreational activities; people may only exercise with one other person, and not after curfew.
Only one person per household can go shopping, only during the day.
Police have the power to fine up to $1,652 (US$1,161) to individuals on the spot for flouting the rules, and businesses $9,913 (US$7,020). This can climb to $20,000 (US$14,174) for individuals and $100,000 (US$70,976) for business who are taken to court.