New details have emerged following the dramatic arrest of a woman in Melbourne after she was spotted not wearing a mask amid Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions.
The couple spoke out on Tuesday, a day after an officer was filmed in the inner city suburb of Collingwood putting his hands around the woman’s throat while arresting her.
“I understand, everyone’s got to wear a mask, but some people have exemptions,” her boyfriend told 7 News.
The St Kilda woman was charged with resisting police and assaulting police, but was not fined because she later told police she had an exemption from wearing a mask.
In a video of the arrest her boyfriend could be heard claiming the woman had an exemption from wearing a mask and had a note from her doctor to prove it.
The 21-year-old told 7News she initially gave police the finger after being asked why she wasn’t wearing a mask, but her boyfriend said he took issue with what unfolded next.
“The way that they came up to us all intimidating is itself enough. They’re meant to make us feel protected. We don’t feel protected,” her boyfriend told 7 News.
“When they’re just looking for a fight, just looking to fine people and looking just to be bullies, it’s not lawful.”
At one point in the arrest, the woman was shown kicking out at a female officer, striking her in the stomach.
The officer was later taken to hospital for observation.
The arrest has been referred to Professional Standards Command for oversight, police said.
A total of 202 fines for COVID-19 public health order breaches were handed out on Tuesday, including 33 to individuals not wearing a face covering when outside their home for the four approved reasons.
Eight people were fined at vehicle checkpoints and 70 were fined for curfew breaches.
Victoria recorded a further 19 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday – its highest daily toll – for the second consecutive day.
The Department of Health and Human Services also announced 331 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, offering further evidence the second wave has now stabilised.
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