Tweed-Byron police have been forced to deny assaulting a woman they arrested at a Byron Bay beach yesterday (Monday, February 12) after mobile phone footage of the altercation was posted to social media and screened on TV.
The video appears to show a woman shouting and resisting arrest and a man shouting ‘Zoe, just settle’ as police make several, increasingly forceful, attempts to arrest her under a casuarina tree on the beach near the Wreck.
As the police lead the woman away, she collapses on the beach steps after trying to break free from the two officers who are escorting her.
The man runs up behind the two officers and shouts, ‘get the fuck off her; you just knocked her out’.
Another man, possibly an off duty doctor or paramedic, kneels over the woman checking her vital signs.
The woman comes to and starts calling for ‘Jesse’ before being led away.
Jaicey Revelle, who posted the video to the Byron Bay Community Board, said the woman, ‘was hit with a closed fist by the female officer and was knocked unconscious for 30 seconds or more’.
She added that the man who ran to defend her ‘was hit by female police officer then pepper sprayed by male officer’.
TV coverage disappointing: police
Tweed-Byron detective superintendent Wayne Starling told media he was, ‘disappointed in a story run on one of the local television networks with mobile phone footage indicating that police assaulted a woman at Byron Bay’.
‘In reality the policewoman has advised me that the woman was trying to bite her and she pushed her away.
‘This story has given the police haters in the community the opportunity to latch onto this story and could put our local community and police at risk,’ he said.
According to the official police version of events, at 3.20pm on Monday (February 12), police were called to the rear of a caravan park on Byron Bay beach in relation to intoxicated people being disruptive.
Police spoke to a number of people to identify those involved. When speaking with an intoxicated woman it’s alleged she behaved aggressively towards police.
Police will allege they located the remains of a bottle of vodka in the woman’s bag which they disposed of in accordance with the pre-existing alcohol-free zone.
As the 18-year-old woman was being arrested for offensive behaviour, a man allegedly tried to intervene.
It’s alleged the woman tried to bite a female officer who had to use her self-defence training to avoid injury.
The woman was taken to Byron Bay Hospital for observation and was later released. She was then taken to Byron Bay Police Station where she was charged with affray, assaulting police, assaulting an ambulance officer and offensive conduct.
She was given conditional bail and is due to appear in Byron Bay Local Court on Thursday, March 8.
The 21-year-old man was located walking in a nearby street and was arrested. He was taken to Byron Bay Police Station where he was charged with affray, assaulting police and hindering police.
He was given conditional bail and is also due to appear in Byron Bay Local Court on Thursday, March 8.