The actions of three police officers have been met with outrage after they were caught on film forcefully arresting a 12-year-old-boy.
Footage filmed by a concerned bystander captured the moment the boy was arrested at Bendigo Train Station, in central Victoria, on Friday.
In the footage, the boy can be heard crying and pleading with officers to ‘let go of me’ as he is forcibly held down with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Victoria Policesaid the officers were responding to reports of criminal damage to property when they arrived at the train station shortly before 7pm.
An angry witness questioned the officers’ force, saying: ‘He’s just a child’.
The police officers could be heard attempting to reason with the child while he lay face down.
‘That is ridiculous, you’re not going to hurt my members or me,’ one officer said.
The boy can be heard saying ‘all I f***ing did’ before he is interrupted by an officer who said ‘shut up, you’ve had your opportunity’.
Forced to defend their actions to witnesses, a second officer said ‘You know where he was, he was running around on the roof’.
‘He’s got autism so he doesn’t understand,’ he continued.
The woman retorted saying ‘I do (understand) actually, my child’s got autism, and if police handled my child like that…’.
Defending their actions, the officer said: ‘I can’t let him kick people and I can’t let him sit down on top of the railway station where he can hurt himself’.
Tensions appeared to rise, with the woman shouting back at the police, urging them to phone the boy’s parents rather than arrest him.
The policeman told the woman he phoned the boy’s parents but they were unable to pick him up.
The back and forth between the officer and the woman was shut down when a second officer, who appeared to be holding the boy down, said: ‘you want to move on thanks?’
Victoria Policesaid the boy was transported from the scene into his father’s care. Police denied the boy lived with autism.
Bendigo Police said the force used by the officers was ‘reasonable’ and the boy was not hurt during the altercation.
Despite this, the police force was slammed by disability advocates.
‘Children, particularly so with autism, are not born violent… but it certainly can become a symptom when you’re treated with incompetence,’ manager Julie Phillips told 3AW.
Bendigo Autistic Advocacy and Support Service’s Beck Kelly also questioned the police officers’ force.
She told the Bendigo Advertiser the officers’ restraint was not appropriate and could lead to trauma for the child.
She also said police force could cause the child to have a lifetime aversion to the police.
Police said they expected to interview the 12-year-old boy at a later date.