Shock video: Coast cops pepper spray, knee diner on ground
A POLICE officer drops a knee into the head of an unconscious man lying handcuffed on the footpath of an affluent dining strip.
The man was pepper-sprayed twice, put in a headlock, dropped to the ground headfirst, and later dragged along the concrete. He would be out of work for eight months.
Metres away, his best friend is being kneed in the back by two officers. He was also pepper-sprayed without warning.
For nine months police claimed they were the ones that had been assaulted outside a restaurant at Paradise Point about 8.30pm on December 28 last year.
They were called to the Esplanade after the manager at a neighbouring restaurant complained about a nonviolent incident involving "three bikies" at the shared toilets.
The two men were due to face trial in the Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday accused of bashing police. Both were charged with public nuisance and obstructing police. Oskar Sarkans was also charged with assaulting police and Peter James Kleinschafer was charged with contravening a direction of police.
However, the trial was aborted at the 11th hour after video emerged of police appearing to use excessive force. Throughout the video the two men do not throw a punch or try to retaliate.
Their lawyer Campbell MacCallum, of Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers, also said the pair did not know any bikies.
Police are expected to drop the charges after they issue a ticket to Mr Sarkans for public urination out the back of the restaurant.
Police have reviewed the matter. One of the city's top cops has asked for it to be investigated again after the footage became public.
Mr MacCallum said the officers used "excessive force" and "police brutality" and he urged more training for police.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Daniel McShane told the court the matter needed to be adjourned so tickets could be issued.
He said the charges would then "take a certain course".
Outside of court, Mr MacCallum said police had asked the pair to leave the venue and they were discussing what would happen with their half-eaten meals.
It was alleged that the pair were behaving "aggressively" before they were pepper-sprayed.
"You can easily see that both the persons attacked by the police were standing in a non-threatening manner having conversations with police," he said.
"All I can gather is one of the police officers has had a rush of blood, sprayed one of the persons and then the second police officer has sprayed the second person."
An officer said in a statement that he had been building a "rapport" with Mr Sarkans before another cop pepper sprayed him, Mr MacCallum added.
He said he would like police to undergo more training so they were confident in diffusing a situation instead of jumping straight to violence.
Gold Coast Police Superintendent Mark Wheeler said the matter had been reviewed once previously. He said he had ordered a second review.
"Police are reviewing the incident and will take appropriate action," he said.
"Generally, when a charge is withdrawn we have a prosecution review process to establish if there was any error made, any error in law or any other issue like an excessive use of force.
Former Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said police had a difficult job but they also had a higher obligation because they had knowledge of the law and were in a powerful position.
Mr Potts said having police investigate the police was not preferable and matters of alleged excessive force should be referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Originally published as Shock video: Coast cops pepper spray, knee diner on ground