Witnesses: heavy-handed approach fuelled fracas

THREE eyewitnesses to the Ipswich grand final melee all believe an overzealous police officer fuelled the incident with his heavy-handed approach to the arrest of a man.

One witness, who said he was just 5m away from the melee, said one police officer pulled out his taser screaming his head off as if he'd captured an Iraqi prisoner.

"It was like a movie for the world's most wanted man," the witness said.

"They didn't have to do what they did.

"They made such a mess of it they didn't know how to fix it in the end. "There was no fight, no riot, 15 cops surrounded them.

"There were four of them and two women were with kids."

According to another witness it all started when an intoxicated man was asked to leave the North Ipswich Reserve.

He did so without fuss, with a group of about eight men, three women and three children.

Followed by the police officer they headed down Pelican St towards one of their cars, parked near the corner of Lowry St.

"He was drunk but he was not doing anything," the witness said.

"The cop followed them to the car and they asked 'why are you following us, leave us alone'.

"Before they got to the corner the cop radioed for back-up."

When back-up arrived another of the group was arrested for telling the cops to "get lost," the witness said.

When another of them approached police to question their behaviour "the copper started pushing him against the paddy wagon with his baton", a witness said.

"He managed to get out of it.

"Then the cops grabbed him and pepper-sprayed him.

"Then one of the women tried to placate the cops.

"She said, 'they didn't do anything wrong. They were just questioning the arrest'.

"Then the cop lady sprayed her while she was holding a baby.

"She fell down.

"One cop, the power tripper, starting hitting a guy with a baton.

"The guy who was sprayed lashed out and hit the male cop."

One of the group had his arm broken as he was held in an arm lock and pushed into a vehicle with force.

"He was saying, 'My arm, my arm,' as they forced him onto the car," the witness said.

One of the witnesses said he was pepper-sprayed as he stood with his arms raised in the air, offering no resistance and not being aggressive.

Two witnesses said the policeman was assaulted by a man who had been blinded by pepper spray.

They say he was lashing out as a response to the police action.

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