Perth police are investigating an officer caught on video swearing at cyclist John Martin and threatening that he’ll be raped in jail. The officer had pulled Martin over for riding without a helmet, and Martin balked.
Martin, 24, told Australia’s Nine News that he may press charges against the officer.
"It's unacceptable. Police shouldn't be allowed to treat the public like that," he said. "You shouldn't threaten anyone with rape, especially if you're a police officer."
The 45-second clip shows the police officer becoming enraged after Martin tells him to “go stop some f------ criminals.”
The officer then warns the cyclist, “If you swear one more f------ time, I’ll put you in the lockup for disorderly. Just like last time, I’ll deny your bail, and some big fella’s gonna play with your a------ through the night. If that’s what you want, say one more f----- swear word. Otherwise, you pull your head in.”
The cyclist was pulled over for riding without a helmet in the Perth suburb of Forrestfield around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to WAToday.com.au.
The officer has spoken to his supervisor about the incident, the website reported. Inspector Dom Wood told WAToday that although the viral video contains only a portion of the exchange between the constable and the cyclist, the officer’s behavior was unacceptable.
"The officer has admitted he could have dealt with things more appropriately and he is going to be spoken to about that," Wood said. “"We have to make it quite clear that this is a small snippet we saw on Facebook; we haven't seen the entirety of the incident, so we have to look into it further. This is extremely rare; we don't get these incidents too often. This officer has come across someone who has pushed his buttons and tried to get a reaction. The officer wouldn't have known he was being recorded in those circumstances."
Liza Harvey, police minister for Western Australia, said while the officer's language was “inappropriate,” she would leave it up to local police to investigate his conduct, the Guardian reported.
George Tillbury, president of the Western Australia police union, said officers are sometimes subject to stress, which he said may have played a role in the constable’s behavior.
"As the full video has not been uploaded and the entirety of the circumstances are unknown, it is very difficult to comment on the actions of the officer," he said. However, police officers should always do their utmost to portray a professional image. Our members need to be aware that in this modern age of technology, their actions and interactions with the public will be filmed, often without their knowledge or permission."