A man arrested in front of a locked-down public housing tower has yelled out “I can’t breathe” as police swarmed him.
The 28-year-old Altona North man was arrested in Flemington about 9.50pm on Tuesday after he allegedly became verbally aggressive towards police.
Police believe the man got out of a car in Holland Court before joining another man confronting some officers.
The arrested man has since been released pending further investigation and police are trying to identify the second man, who ran off the scene.
It is believed the incident happened during a food delivery by a local charity, which police said was not involved in the incident.
Social media videos recorded by some of the witnesses delivering food at the public housing tower show the man being arrested as tensions escalate.
The man being held on the floor is heard screaming “I can’t breathe”.
Residents in the nine public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington will be in hard lockdown until all are tested for COVID-19 and the results are evaluated.
Premier Daniel Andrews is confident testing of towers residents will be finished soon.
“We are very confident that we will be able to complete testing today,” he said on Wednesday.
“The quicker everyone gets tested, the quicker we can get those results and then put in place a detailed plan to provide tailored and specific support to those people who test positive.
“I again say to every single resident in those towers you will be under these restrictions for not a moment longer than you need to be.”
Once all 3000 residents are tested, they will join millions of other Melburnians in their new six-week stage three lockdown.
‘People are angry’
Ellen Sandell, the state Greens MP for the seat of Melbourne, called the footage “a very disturbing use of force”.
“This is a health emergency, but the government has only sent in police, with no translators, no information on how people would get food or essentials, and people are very scared,” she told The New Daily.
“This is a community that has had a long history of overuse of force by police, and police are now escalating the situation and making it worse.”
Ms Sandell, who has spent much of recent days at the housing estates or speaking to residents, said most residents had been supplied with food. Many were still waiting for medical supplies or essentials such as baby nappies.
“They understand the need for the lockdown… but people are angry when they see the Premier on TV saying that they’re being looked after, when they’re not,” she said.
“We’re a wealthy country. People should be treated better than this.”