Australian police officer chokes woman during arrest for not wearing mask in viral video

A police officer in Melbourne, Australia, is now being investigated by the department after the officer was seen on video choking of a woman he reportedly tried to arrest after a confrontation over her violation of the city’s mask mandate, CNN reported.

According to police, officers were on patrol when they saw a 21-year-old woman not wearing a mask. In Melbourne, everyone is required to wear a mask in public, even outdoors.

They confronted the woman, who apparently refused to give her name and address, and led police to arrest her. Once they tried to arrest her, police say she began resisting.

In the process of restraining her, a male officer is seen on video with his hands wrapped around her neck and taken to the ground.

Victoria police officer allegedly filmed woman and women of the woman to the ground

The woman’s friend told 7News she had an exemption for not wearing a mask, but police say she did not mention it during the encounter and arrest. The typical penalty for violating the mask mandate is a fine. From CNN:

It is currently mandatory to wear a face mask in parts of the state of Victoria. Under strict measures for coronavirus, those caught without face cover have a fine of 200 AUD (about $ 140 USD).

“Police took the decision to arrest the woman after she could not provide her name and address. She also did not declare that she had an exemption for not wearing a face mask,” police said in a statement.

Police say, and the video supports her, that the woman became physically aggressive when she initiated the arrest. The woman’s friend, however, finds it ridiculous that it even came down to the fact that she did not have a mask in the bathroom.

“The way they intimidated us all is even enough,” he told 7 News. “They are meant to make us protected, right? We do not feel protected.”

Many public health experts, even those who believe that non-medical masks are effective against the spread of COVID-19, typically say that they are not necessary in out-of-scenarios where social distance is possible.

In the United States, there is evidence from outdoor gatherings and crowded beaches – and not to mention protests – that there is no high risk of COVID-19 transmission from outdoor activities.