VICTORIA Police has confirmed that no police officer has been charged with a criminal offence for the throwing of a handcuffed man into a cell door at Bendigo police station, an incident that left the man bloodied on the floor.
The incident was captured on CCTV and was among several instances of alleged police violence against Indigenous people in Victoria, raising concerns from the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.
An officer involved in the Bendigo incident has since been returned to normal duties. He was assigned to “alternative duties” following the incident, a decision made by the head of the Professional Standards Command.
The officer who carried out the throw has since resigned.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission is continuing to investigate the incident.
A spokesperson for Victoria Police said IBAC had determined not to continue with a criminal investigation and the matter would not be referred to the Office of Public Prosecutions.
“IBAC has advised Victoria Police that this matter is no longer being treated as a criminal investigation, therefore the police officer has been returned to his normal duties,” the spokesperson said.
“Victoria Police will await the final results of the IBAC investigation.”
In the footage, another officer is seen to kick Jia Meeks, then 23, while he lays on the ground with blood coming from his face.
The police brief of evidence stated that a handcuffed Meeks attempted to headbutt an officer who was trying to take his mugshot in the police cells.
CCTV footage obtained by VALS showed Meeks shrug from the officer’s grip before he was thrown to the ground.
Police had arrested Meeks outside a Bendigo pub while he was drinking heavily, mourning the death of a relative. Police claimed he was acting aggressively towards officers.
He had earlier convictions for serious offending in Bendigo.
The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service was contacted for comment.
A spokesperson for IBAC said the investigation was ongoing.
“IBAC’s investigation into the incident at Bendigo police station in March 2015 is an ongoing matter, and for legal and operational reasons, IBAC is unable to comment further at this stage,” the spokesperson said.
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