Confronting footage emerged of the incident on Monday, which took place on Cooper Street in Epping about 4.10pm on Sunday.
A police spokeswoman said officers had been called to reports that a man “behaving erratically”.
“Upon arrival, the male allegedly became aggressive and damaged a police vehicle whilst attempting to avoid arrest,” she said.
The spokeswoman described the incident as “highly dynamic” and said that a police officer was assaulted and capsicum spray used on the man before he was arrested and taken to hospital for assessment.
Footage obtained by Seven News of the moments prior to the arrest shows the man walking in the middle of the road, waving his arms in front of a police car.
As he turns around and walks away from the vehicle, the car speeds up and hits the man in the back.
Another video, taken by 23-year-old Lalor man Jake Edwards, shows six officers surrounding the man who is face down on the ground.
When the man attempts to get up, a male officer appears to stomp the back of the man’s head, forcing it into the ground. All six officers then pin the man down while he is arrested.
The man’s father, Glenn, said his son has bipolar disorder and had been seeking treatment at the Northern Hospital and was waiting for a bed to become available in the psychiatric ward on Sunday.
He had left the hospital and staff called police.
Glenn said his son, a young father who runs his own business, had not had an episode in nine years.
“I spoke to him on Saturday, he was crying and wanted me to come in and I can’t because of the COVID thing. You hear your son crying on the phone, it’s not very nice,” the emotional father told Nine News on Monday.
“Then you see what police did to him.”
“They could have killed him. These people need to be held to justice and accountable.”
Following the arrest, Glenn’s son was placed in an induced coma on Monday and was receiving treatment at Northern Hospital.
Jeremy King, principal lawyer at Robinson Gill, said he was acting for the man’s family, who are planning to take legal action against Victoria Police.
He said the family’s main objective was for the arrest to be independently investigated and for police to be held to account.
“I think that it’s horrific footage and quite sickening as well. Stomping on someone’s head really is about as violent and dangerous as it gets. I could never see any reason that could be justified by Victoria Police,” he said.
“I think it should be born in mind that this was a man actively trying to seek help and he had been doing his best to do that. Police are dealing with a very vulnerable person with mental health issues who hasn’t committed any other crime.
“Someone should never end up in ICU in an induced coma following an interaction with police.”
Mr Edwards, who filmed the arrest, told The Age he was driving down Cooper Street in Epping when he saw a man on the road.
“Within two seconds a police car rammed into him … the man then got up and a foot chase continued,” he said.
Mr Edwards started to record the incident on his phone. The man was arrested on the median strip.
“He did throw a punch, he was displaying erratic behaviour but I do believe police did not help that situation,” he said.
“They pepper-sprayed him, there were multiple kicks to the head and then they tackled him to the ground.”
He said that while the man was on the ground restrained by fix or six officers, one of them “stomped on his head”.
“It was terrible, honestly, I felt sick. Disgusted. I can’t find any other words,” he said. “People will never understand the true anger until you witness this in-person.”
Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has dashcam or mobile footage to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://ift.tt/TqINjN.
Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.
Rachael Dexter is a breaking news reporter at The Age.