Australian police were caught on camera ramming a squad car into the back of a mentally ill man — then stomping on his head, leaving him in an induced coma in intensive care.
Several officers from the Victoria Police were filmed trying to stop father of three Timothy Atkins, 32, who fled a hospital in Epping on Sunday after waiting a day to be treated for a bipolar episode, the Herald Sun said.
Passersby then recorded shocking videos of a police car ramming into him from behind, sending him flying to the ground — and then officers attacking him as at least six tackled him.
“Am I witnessing this? What the f–k!” one of the men filming the clip said while recording, adding, “Are you kidding me? Are you f—ing kidding me?”
“They punched him multiple times, kicked him multiple times, and — worst of all — stomped on his head while he was down,” the witness told 7 News, calling it “absolutely disgusting.”
Atkins was taken back to the same hospital he had just fled and put in an induced coma in ICU, his father, Glenn Atkins, told local media.
The dad told 7 News it was “sickening, absolutely sickening” to watch the videos, which was how his son’s family discovered what had happened.
“It could’ve killed him,” he said — comparing it to “some crap you’d see from America” and the high-profile incidents of police violence.
“It is like watching a video from America, or Beirut,” Glenn Atkins told the Herald Sun, saying the officers were “kicking him and he wasn’t even fighting back.”
“Timothy is a gentle giant, I feel sick to my guts. I am full of anger and sadness,” he said. “They don’t need to do that to a person with a mental illness, who didn’t even fight back. My son was scared and confused. No one can tell me this was the right thing to do.”
The dad — whose brother was a cop — said officers “have the worst job in the world” but “are not above the law.”
“They should be held accountable,” he told the paper.
Victoria Police said they responded to a “highly dynamic” incident after reports of a man behaving erratically about 4:10 p.m. Sunday.
Police said the arrest came after an officer was assaulted by the man, who “became aggressive and damaged a police vehicle” and had shaken off being hit with pepper spray, the reports said.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said body camera footage would be reviewed by force’s Professional Standards Command before a decision was made on relieving the officers of duties.
Police misconduct lawyer Jeremy King, who is representing Atkins’ family, called the videos “sickening to watch.”
“I would be fairly confident to say that in the Victoria Police manual regarding their approved tactics, you’re not allowed to ram somebody with a vehicle and you’re certainly not allowed to stomp on their head,” he told Australia’s ABC News.