NSW Police are facing accusations of unnecessary force after footage reportedly showing a woman being struck with a police baton during an arrest in Sydney went viral.
The arrest was one of four made, according to a police statement, after officers were flagged down over dispute regarding a taxi fare in Potts Point on Wednesday morning.
The footage posted on Facebook shows two officers arresting a woman who allegedly punched a female police officer in the mouth shortly before 2am.
It appears to show officers repeatedly hitting with the woman a baton during a struggle on the ground.
More officers join the initial pair as witnesses can be heard “she’s not resisting arrest” and “let her go”.
The footage has attracted more than 390,000 views and more than 2300 comments.
‘From time to time they get very physical’
Superintendent Michael Fitzgerald told media that no complaint made yet, but one is anticipated.
Superintendent Fitzgerald said he had watched the online footage, as well as a longer video from CCTV footage, which shows the arrested woman allegedly punching a police officer.
“I have seen the female offender punch the female police officer in an unprovoked assault,” he said.
“Police are not punching bags, neither are taxi drivers and neither are members of public who come to aid police… If the person arrested wish to complain, they are entitled to do so.”
Superintendent Fitzgerald said he he was satisifed that police used necessary force to arrest the woman, who he said was intoxicated.
He said the CCTV footage would not be released.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told media he had not seen the footage, but understood that such incidents could become “very heated”.
“Let’s face it, police that are involved in making arrests where somebody’s been assaulted, often they are very heated and you can be sure that from time to time they get very physical,” he said.
“If there has been an overuse of force you can be sure the courts will take that into consideration. They’ll examine it.”
Commissioner Scipione said it was now up to the courts to examine the case, which resulted in the arrests of three men and one woman.
They were granted bail on charges including assault police, assault, resist arrest, hinder police and affray, and will appear in Downing Centre Local Court in January.