New footage has emerged of the moment six police officers stopped to check on a woman who was pepper sprayed by a cop at Melbourne’s anti-lockdown protest.
Ten officers were injured and 235 people were arrested mostly for breaching health directions by storming Richmond and clashing with police on Saturday.
Photos of a male police officer standing over an elderly woman, understood to be in her 70s, and deploying pepper spray in her face outraged the nation.
But new vision has revealed how at least six concerned police officers stopped to check on the woman’s condition as protesters continued to rampage metres away.
The clip begins by showing an officer stopping in his tracks and gesturing to the crowd of police to stop and help the woman.
Another policeman runs from his position over to the woman as she struggles to get to her feet and is quickly joined by a second and third officer to check whether the woman needs further help.
After the protester is pepper sprayed in Melbourne’s chaotic anti-lockdown protest half-a-dozen police officers rush over the assist her (pictured)
As the police line continues along the Richmond street driving back the protesters, a fourth officer also goes to check on her.
A fifth and sixth officer, who appear to be coordinating from behind the police line, then also assist the woman – speaking to her and gesturing for their colleagues to get eye wash.
Commenters on the video were overwhelmingly critical of actions of the officer who pushed the woman and deployed pepper spray.
‘She did not deserve that, he has a lot to answer for,’ one person said.
But a few pointed out those police that did stop to help.
‘That one officer stopping his colleagues to assist her – that’s a good man,’ one person said.
‘Shout out to the cops that actually stopped to help her,’ added another.
‘Six officers stopped to help her… I reckon I could find 20 videos of Victorian protesters assaulting police, breaking stuff, throwing shit at cops,’ a third said.
A woman, reported to be in her 70s was knocked to the ground during the violent clashes between protesters and police in Melbourne
After video of the incident first appeared, anti-lockdown protestors wrongly accused one police officer of pepper-spraying the elderly woman but he was really at home looking after his newborn.
Online vigilantes took to Twitter claiming they had found one of the officers filmed in the altercation. Social media users were quick to bombard the man with hate messages and abuse.
‘Granny basher. I hope you apologised to her after her hip surgery and brain scan,’ one person wrote. ‘You rascal.’
Another person added: ‘Should be immediately fired’.
Victoria Police was prompted to issue a statement saying the wrong police officer had been identified.
‘These posts are incorrect,’ a spokesperson said. ‘The member named was not on duty on Saturday and had nothing to do with the incident which has been referred to professional standards command for investigation.’
The man seemingly identified is understood to have been at home caring for his newborn. Victoria Police said they were investigating the officers who were captured in the video.
‘The incident circulating on social media has been referred to Professional Standards Command and will be investigated,’ a spokesperson said.
Anti-lockdown protestors have wrongly accused a police officer of pepper-spraying an elderly woman during a rally in Melbourne – even though he was at home looking after his newborn
Demonstrators were left outraged after footage showed two officers deploying pepper spray at a woman during violent protests in Richmond, Melbourne, on Saturday
Hundreds of anti-lockdown demonstrators took to the streets in Melbourne on Saturday, sparking violent confrontations with police that resulted in 235 arrests and 10 injured officers.
Fears have been raised that demonstrators are already planning for the next rally and communicating with each other via encrypted messaging apps.
Some members have suggested withholding the location of the protest until the last minute – to throw police off their guard, The Herald Sun reported.
‘Drop location one hour before meet up on the designated day as to not give cops time to prepare,’ one person wrote.
There are at least 8,000 members in one of the group chats with one warning they will not be silenced.
‘Footscray. Dandenong. Highpoint Shopping Centre. Chadstone Shopping Centre. Whatever. We will be heard wherever we go,’ they wrote.
Hundreds of anti-lockdown demonstrators took to the streets in Melbourne on Saturday, sparking violent confrontations with police
Demonstrators were slammed by most Victorians for breaking the city’s sixth lockdown, and Victorian Police commander Mark Galliott said the protest was just ‘angry, aggressive young males there to fight the police’.
But there was also anger towards police accused of using excessive force, particularly involving footage of the elderly woman.
The woman wearing a wig with an Australian flag draped around her is knocked to the ground by officers.
The woman then lay injured on the ground and shielded her face while being doused with pepper spray by two officers standing over her.
She is seen wincing and writhing in pain as officers eventually help her to her feet.
While viewers agreed the actions of some protestors in Saturday weren’t necessary, they believe police used excessive force.
The injured protester is seen writhing in pain as she’s helped to her feet by police
‘This country is turning to s**t very quickly…and it’s not because of the virus,’ host of The Primodcast posted.
‘It’s because of incompetent state governments and big pharmaceutical companies taking advantage of the situation to make a s*** tonne of money.’
Others called for the officers involved to be charged.
‘Sue every bloody one of these little animals who call themselves police. How would they like it, if it was their grandmother, mum, aunty, sister, niece or cousin,’ one wrote.
But not everyone was on the protester’s side.
‘If you feel danger, then stay home simple as that. Our freedom of choice is too important to let anyone talk us out of it,’ one wrote.
You are putting your own freedom at risk by blindly doing what other people tell you to do.’
One woman added: ‘You say she is not a danger, well actually she is a danger by just breathing on someone. Haven’t you noticed that we are in a global pandemic. Selfish people.’
Others called for footage leading up to the incident to be shared.
Demonstrators were blocked from marching further by a wall of police along Burnley Street in Richmond
An anti-lockdown protestor screams at police on Burnely Street in Richmond on Saturday
Police made 235 arrests on Saturday, most for breaching health directions while some were charged with assault, riotous behaviour and weapons and drug offences.
Those arrested will be fined $5,452 each, with 193 infringements handed out so far.
Police officers suffered injuries including a broken elbow and broken nose, a broken finger and torn muscles. Six officers were taken to hospital.
‘Police were subject to violent, hostile and aggressive behaviour,’ a Victoria Police statement read.
‘Numerous officers were assaulted while others had projectiles including glass bottles hurled in their direction.
‘It was extremely disappointing to see another example of a small minority of the community showing a complete disregard for the health and safety of not only police, but each and every other Victorian.’
Police investigations into Saturday’s protests are continuing.
While many viewers called for the officers who doused the woman with pepper spray to be punished, others said demonstrators should have stayed at home