Raymond and Fay Morrissey and Pam Roney at the Pottsville shopping centre where the altercation occurred.
Raymond and Fay Morrissey and Pam Roney at the Pottsville shopping centre where the altercation occurred. Crystal Spencer

79 year-old punches cop

AN elderly Hastings Point man has been left badly bruised after an altercation with a Tweed Heads police officer.

Raymond Morrissey, 79, could face charges of assaulting police in the aftermath of the fight, which left his 76-year-old wife Faye and 75-year-old friend Pam Roney sprawled, bleeding and bruised, on the ground in Pottsville's shopping centre.

The Tweed Byron Highway Patrol senior constable was forced to call for backup to the 11am, Friday altercation.

Police are still investigating the incident and no charges have yet been laid.

But Mr Morrissey and Ms Roney have spoken out, saying the officer involved needs help to control his anger.

“He has got an anger management problem; he just can't keep his cool ... he was like a raging bull,” Mr Morrissey said.

Mr Morrissey also plans to make a complaint to the police ombudsman.

According to the three, the incident started when they saw a highway patrol car “scream” through Pottsville and activate its sirens near the IGA in an attempt to stop a car they say was turning in to a car park travelling at normal speed.

Mr Morrissey, who said he had never been in trouble with police, thought the officer's actions were unnecessary and told him so.

He said a verbal argument started and the officer called him a “motor-mouth”, and he called the officer a “smart-arse” among other things.

Things took a turn for the worse when Mr Morrissey refused to be arrested and a physical struggle began.

Mrs Morrissey tried to help her husband and got pushed over onto the ground.

Mr Morrissey said he wanted to help his wife get up off the ground, but the police officer wouldn't let him.

“That was like waving a red rag to a bull,” he said.

He admits he turned and “planted one” right on the police officer's jaw.

Then in a split second he found himself on the ground with his wife.

Ms Roney said she touched the officer to get him to settle down and also ended up falling over.

“I said, calm down, this is ridiculous, he is an 80-year-old and he said: 'mind your own business or I will arrest you too',” she said.

The fight happened in front of the Friday morning shopping crowd and the officer called for backup.

“The others came from Kingscliff and were very polite and gentle, but that other (officer) needed anger management,” Ms Roney said.

An ambulance was also called, and all four involved in the brawl were treated, but no-one was taken to hospital.

Mr and Mrs Morrissey, who both suffer from osteoporosis, went to the doctor yesterday for X-rays and got the all-clear.

Mr Morrissey's severe bruising was still clear on his arms yesterday.

Tweed Heads police Inspector Darren Steel said police were investigating the incident.

“It appears that a passer-by became involved in an argument with the senior constable after he stopped a vehicle in relation to a traffic matter,” Insp Steel said.

Insp Steel said the 79-year-old allegedly struck the officer in the face, which caused a minor laceration.

He said a number of other people became involved in the incident, which resulted in the police officer calling for assistance from other police.

“At this stage no action has been taken against any persons involved in the incident,” Insp Steel said.

“Police are continuing their investigations and are still to speak to a number of individual witnesses who saw the incident.”



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