Brutal moment police beat disability pensioner with a baton on his front lawn before pepper spraying him and firing water into his face from a power hose
- A total of six police officers were filmed piling on top of a disability pensioner
- Three of the officers have now found guilty of unlawful assault during the arrest
- The pensioner, named John, said the police officers treated him ‘like a dog’
- The trio beat John with a baton, punched him and even pepper sprayed him
- John installed CCTV camera to prevent crime but it was police who beat him
A Melbourne disability pensioner was treated ‘like a dog’ when three policemen beat him with a baton, punched him and pepper-sprayed him.
Senior Constables Brad MacLeod and Florian Hilgart, and Constable John Edney were found guilty of unlawful assault during an arrest in September 2018.
The trio were called to the pensioner’s Preston home in Melbourne after his psychologist called triple zero because of serious concerns about his mental health.
‘They treated me like a dog at the weakest moment of my life,’ the pensioner, named John, told Heidelberg Magistrates Court on Friday after the verdict.
The attack was caught on two CCTV cameras at John’s home and he said the officers refused to acknowledge their behaviour despite being caught ‘red-handed’.
A group of officers were filmed gathering around a disability pensioner named John after he was pepper sprayed. Senior Constables Brad MacLeod and Florian Hilgart, and Constable John Edney were found guilty of unlawful assault during the arrest in September 2018
He originally installed the cameras in a bid to prevent crime at his property.
The disability pensioner was haunted by what happened on the day and deserved ‘dignity and humanity’.
John was initially ‘aggressive and volatile’ at his front door, but it was when he was pinned down that magistrate Cathy Lamble found the officers used unjustified force.
Edney, 30, was found guilty of assault with a weapon for using his police-issued baton to strike the pensioner’s leg six times while he was on the ground.
He also unlawfully stepped on the pensioner’s head.
MacLeod, 35, pepper-sprayed the victim and punched him in the stomach.
‘Did you like that? Did you like that? Smells good, doesn’t it?’ the officer said after he sprayed John.
His use of force was ‘malicious’ and it was borne out of annoyance and frustration at the pensioner for coming at him with raised fists at the door.
‘He was paying out on (John) for his resistance to police demands,’ Ms Lamble said.
McLeod was also found guilty of directing his colleague Hilgart (far right), 42, to spray the John with a high-pressure hose while he was handcuffed
A total of six officers arrived to arrest the disability pensioner
McLeod was also found guilty of directing his colleague Hilgart, 42, to spray the pensioner with a high-pressure hose while he was handcuffed.
Hilgart sprayed him twice with the hose but the third time was unlawful, and was done while McLeod took photos or video on his phone.
The men’s lawyers argued the trio shouldn’t receive convictions over the crimes because they could lose their jobs.
But prosecutor Diana Manova said only Edney had demonstrated ‘true remorse’ in the case, while McLeod continued to say his conduct was not unlawful.
She said John was a ‘vulnerable person’ who had been outnumbered and if they had been in civilian clothes neighbours may have intervened.
‘But who would come when the six men on top of him are police,’ Ms Manova said.
The three officers, on bail and suspended without pay, were charged by the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission following an investigation.
They will be sentenced next Wednesday.
John sits on the lawn, shaken by the assault. The three officers who have been found guilty are on bail and suspended without pay. They will be sentenced next Wednesday