A video showing three Sydney police officers brutally beating a young woman has gone viral, with over 750,000 views on Facebook. During the clip, the victim is repeatedly hit with a police baton and appears to be kicked in the head by a male officer.
Police brutality has been hitting the headlines in the US, but now it seems the unfortunate trend has made its way to Australia. The woman in question, Claire Helen, who works as a model and actress and was on the receiving end of recurring blows from a police officer, said: â€œIt was the most frightening and humiliating experience of my life.â€
Law enforcement officers allege that Helen punched a policewoman in the mouth, as well as resisting arrest â€“ an action that the model stringently denies. "They pushed me down. They hit me and kicked me. They pulled my dress over my head," she said, speaking to Channel Nine. Onlookers could be heard shouting, "Let her go," and, "She's not resisting arrest.â€
Helen, who is 1 meter, 60 centimeters tall and weighs 55 kilograms, insists she was just enjoying a quiet night out when she was accosted by law enforcement officers, who were much bigger than her.
"We weren't drunk. We'd been with people playing soccer and went out to have a few drinks. I'm not the sort of person who goes out getting pissed on a Wednesday night. I'm trying to make it as a model and actress. I can't go out every night getting wasted. I definitely don't ever get in circumstances like this," she told Channel Nine news.
The incident happened in the Kings Cross area of Sydney, which is home to a number of bars and nightclubs, after Helen and a group of friends haggled over a taxi fare, according to police. The law enforcement agency also added that a male member of the group punched the taxi driver in the stomach.
However, Helen alleges that the taxi driver had charged the group the wrong amount, which led to the trouble starting.
Sydney actress says she's the victim of brutal police assault....details on @7NewsSydney at 6 pic.twitter.com/jCdtDeF85C â€” Adam Walters (@AdamWalters07) December 4, 2014
"He had the meter running before we got in, so we got out," she said. "He said something to us and we said something back, but then he pushed one of my friends and called the police. Then the police showed up and you saw what happened," she added, Channel Nine reported.
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The video has taken the internet by storm and has already been viewed by over three quarters of a million people on Facebook. Many users criticized Helen and defended the police. One woman wrote: â€œShe deserved it. Youâ€™re supposed to respect your elders and respect the law,â€ with another adding, â€œSheâ€™s not resisting arrest?? Really... I thought that if you weren't resisting they wouldâ€™ve had the cuffs on you 1 sec into the videoâ€¦ she got what she deserved.... hopefully that taught her a lesson.â€
Kings Cross Superintendent Michael Fitzgerald said he was satisfied police had used appropriate force, adding: "Police are not punching bags, neither are taxi drivers."
Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross, Sydney (Photo from wikipedia.org)
Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross, Sydney (Photo from wikipedia.org)
He added that police have reviewed CCTV footage of the incident, and they say it justified why they took such a heavy-handed approach.
"I have viewed the footage that has been uploaded on social media," Fitzgerald said. "But I've also had the opportunity to view the entire CCTV from the City of Sydney cameras which shows the entire incident. [It] clearly shows the female offender punch the female police officer in an unprovoked assault which caused the wrestle that you see on YouTube," Fitzgerald added, ABC News reported.
The officer who repeatedly struck Helen with a police baton will not face any charges, police said. Helen and three men have been arrested with a range of offences, including assaulting a police officer, assault, affray and resisting arrest. They have been granted bail until a court hearing on January 6.
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Mickey Dee 0 Once a vicious convict prison guard, always a vicious convict prison guard. Not much has changed in the last 250 years. 32 minutes agoReply Dave P +1 when it come to police brutality it's a no win situation when the law is on the wrong side. If in fact this women did hit a women cop, it was one punch on a one on one situation and no way would I ever agree a two or three on one pay back is justified. These people that say she deserved it won't be singing that same tune when eventually the tables are turned on them and they too become a punching bag for these brave men and women in blue. Not about 3 hours agoReply Roger rogers +3 I would suspect that the local police are in on the taxi scam and act as minders for the drivers if they encounter punters being difficult. 9 days ago 03:16Reply Suzi Jackson +6 I have been on the receiving end of an unwarranted police beating... Their attitude and contempt for me as a woman was alarming. I no longer trust police at all. 13 days ago 14:39Reply lovecrackerjack -1 why not ask the people to go home they were causing problem. 14 days ago 00:19Reply lovecrackerjack +1 train these young police that they are not in the war zone anymore 14 days ago 00:18Reply lovecrackerjack +2 you send all these young boys to war train them in asymmetrical war fare and then they come back can find job but police so they treat regular people like the enemy that is all they know police are to help not attack 14 days ago 00:18Reply lovecrackerjack +1 these guys look like storm troopers not policemen 14 days ago 00:16Reply Joseph W. Egan -9 I salute these brave officers. 14 days ago 20:02Reply Torrey Westfall +6 Go beat a woman with 3 other guys ... doesnt get you saluted, makes you look like you need a psychiatrist and some restraining orders 13 days ago 20:40Reply
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