'He's choking me': Dramatic arrest of Melbourne woman not wearing a mask

Video has surfaced showing the dramatic arrest of a woman in Melbourne not wearing a face mask, where the arresting officer is accused of “choking” the 21-year-old.

An onlooker filmed the struggle in the city’s inner suburb of Collingwood, currently under a Stage 4 lockdown which requires people to wear a face covering in public.

Victoria Police said officers were patrolling Wellington Street on Monday when they saw the woman not wearing a face covering.

Photo shows a police officer with his hands near the woman's neck.
The officer confronts the 21-year-old woman in Collingwood, and she accuses him of choking her. Source: YouTube/Avyerini Nina Vitsaktsis Lazaridis

“Police made the decision to arrest the woman after she failed to provide her name and address,” a Victoria Police statement said.

They said the 21-year-old did not say she had an exemption for not wearing a face covering.

A scuffle followed. The woman was heard yelling at the officer to “f*** off” and repeatedly calling out saying “he’s choking me”.

The officer appeared to put his hands around her neck and walk her backwards towards a wall before a second officer, a female, came into frame and attempted to try to subdue the woman.

The woman can be seen kicking out at the female officer and she steps away.

The male officer was then shown wrestling the woman to the ground, causing her to ask, “What the f*** are you doing to me?”

He then moved his body to sit on her stomach, as onlookers were heard yelling at him to “get off her”.

A male onlooker was then heard yelling out that the male officer was “choking her” while she was on the ground not moving.

Photo shows a police officer pressing a woman into the ground.
The officer was shown pinning the woman to the ground. Source: YouTube/Avyerini Nina Vitsaktsis Lazaridis

“Why am I under arrest?” the woman repeatedly asked the officers.

Several additional police arrived at the scene and the woman remained pinned to the ground, asking the officer to get off her and let her stand up.

Victoria Police told Yahoo News Australia the 21-year-old woman was arrested after refusing to provide identification for breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions.

“She then became physically aggressive and kicked a female officer to the upper body,” a police statement said.

“The woman continued to resist arrest and had to be taken to ground before being arrested.”

The arrest has been referred to Professional Standards Command for oversight, police said.

The video appears to have been filmed from a building above where the incident was taking place.

“What a joke. This is where all the police in Victoria are,” the woman filming said more officers arrived.

Photo shows a police officer sitting on top of a woman in Melbourne.
The woman was charged with resisting and assaulting police. Source: YouTube/Avyerini Nina Vitsaktsis Lazaridis

The St Kilda woman was taken to a police station to confirm identity and has been charged with resisting and assaulting police.

Victoria Police said she did not receive a fine for failing to wear a face covering because she later told police she had an exemption.

The woman was bailed to appear at court at a later date, while the female officer was transported to hospital for observation.

The state recorded another 19 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday after the same number of people died on Monday. There were 331 new cases recorded.

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