A Facebook live stream has captured troubling vision of Victoria Police officers threatening to bash a young Muslim man at a suburban McDonald’s outlet in Melbourne, before swinging a punch at him and then capscisum-spraying his face while a number of officers were already piled on top of him.
At least five officers were involved in the early evening incident on Friday, February 10 at the McDonald’s outlet in Altona North which saw two men – brothers Fady and Mohammed Taleb – charged with assaulting police amongst other offences.
DO YOU THINK POLICE WENT TOO FAR?
However, 21-year-old Fady Taleb has told local media he intends to file an official complaint against Victoria Police after he was left with neck, rib and arm injuries after the incident which apparently stemmed from police ordering Mr Taleb to leave the area and then not being happy when he went through the drive-through of the fast-food restaurant in his Mercedes-Benz to collect food that was mistakenly left off his order.
Mr Taleb does not have a criminal record, nor has he ever been in trouble with police.
“As they go to look in my car, I start to say ‘what are you doing?’, before I even finish the sentence he grabs me,” Mr Taleb told a local newspaper.
“You can see who is at fault. I didn’t touch the officer first, whoever thinks this is blind or stupid.”
Just before the melee began, Mr Taleb looked calm and seemed to be co-operating with the officers.
“I’m doing a roadside inspection, I told you, are you going to obstruct me from doing my job? I’ll f*****g knock you out bro, I told you,” one police officer can be heard threatening Mr Taleb just before the scuffle ensues.
A friend of Mr Taleb’s had earlier begun filming the encounter and broadcast it live on Facebook, which then resulted in Mr Taleb’s brothers attending the scene upon seeing the footage and yelling at the officers to get off their brother who they claimed had heart issues.
Instead, a female police officer then capsicum sprayed Mr Taleb in his face and attempted to spray at least one other man. Mr Taleb says he was also punched three times in the face by one officer but it was not captured on the video.
Mr Taleb, who was in hospital until the next afternoon recovering from his injuries, suspects the incident may have been sparked because of prejudice against Muslims.
“Maybe because I was driving a nice car or something, maybe because I don’t like to talk like this but maybe because I got a beard, maybe I look Middle Eastern, I don’t know,” the injured man told a television network from his bedside.
Victoria Police though have defended the actions of the officers involved.
“From what I have seen they acted appropriately and within the bounds of their duty,” Superintendent Stuart Bateson told reporters.
However, it was only a few years ago that the hierarchy of Victoria Police admitted it had a massive issue with racial profiling and targeting innocent people for police harassment based on the colour of their skin or cultural background.
Mr Taleb and his brother Mohammed are expected to face court in June.