South Australia Police have launched an internal investigation after an officer was filmed appearing to punch an Aboriginal man on the ground during an arrest last night.
Video of the arrest in the Adelaide suburb of Kilburn went viral after being posted to social media.
It shows three officers attempting to detain the man as a woman can be heard screaming, “Get off his head.”
One of the officers appears to strike the man in the head.
In a statement this afternoon, SA Police said the officers were responding to an “alleged high-risk domestic violence matter where a woman was taken to hospital and the offender was not known at the time”.
As they approached the house at about 8.15pm, “they saw a man leaving the area of the house on a bicycle”.
“Police at this time advised the man that they had suspicions concerning him being in possession of illicit drugs. He was asked to place his hands on his head while a search of his person was undertaken,” the statement said.
“The man originally was compliant and after a short time he began to refuse. Police attempted to arrest the man who resisted and a struggle ensued. Police and the man went to the ground as police attempted to restrain and handcuff him.”
Police say one of the officer’s body cameras was grabbed during the struggle and only parts of it have been recovered.
They say they were then “confronted by a number of other nearby residents who became agitated”.
“Police called for urgent assistance. Defensive spray was deployed and other police arrived,” the statement said.
“There is video footage of the incident that has been published on social media. The video shows a rear view of a police officer appearing to strike the man on the ground. An internal investigation has commenced and will be conducted in strict accordance with the statutory provisions outlined in the Police Complaints and Discipline Act 2016.”
SA Police say the investigation will be led by a “senior police officer” and that the matter will be “taken very seriously”.
The 28-year-old Kilburn man in the video was initially arrested and charged with hindering police, resisting police and property damage.
He has been released from custody while the incident is investigated further.
Police say both the man and one of the officers received “minor injuries”.