Queensland’s police union has defended the actions of two officers accused of repeatedly punching a legless man during his arrest at a Brisbane shopping centre.
Footage of the weekend arrest, uploaded to social media, has gone viral, with the original post to Facebook having been shared more than 17,000 times by Tuesday afternoon.
It shows police pinning the agitated disabled man, to the ground and one officer punching him at least four times around the head.
It also shows a woman screaming at police that she is the man’s carer, and putting her body between police and the man.
The pair are shown screaming at the three officers involved to get off them.
Despite mass accusations of police brutality online, Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers says the video looked bad because people didn’t understand the context.
The two people being arrested allegedly stole from the shopping centre and were violently resisting arrest, he said.
“Had they have complied with police, there wouldn’t have been an issue,” he told Fairfax Radio.
“You can hear by the yelling and the screaming that they were resisting police.
“We don’t want to use force, but if we have to do it … those police have my 100 per cent support.”
Civil libertarian Terry O’Gorman has called on a thorough investigation into the incident, saying the footage appeared worrying on face value.
“It appears to show significant, unjustified force by the police involved,” he told ABC radio.
“It’s said to be related to an alleged shop-lifting incident. Let the complaint authorities examine it.”
Queensland police say they are aware of the incident and are looking into the circumstances, but could not say if an ethical standards investigation had been launched.
Police also said the man and woman are facing a range of charges, including entering a premise with intent, stealing, seriously assaulting police and obstructing police.
They’ll appear in court next month.