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22 January 2014

Adelaide: Police Baton-Beat Suspects In Whitmore Square

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South Australia's Attorney-General and the Deputy Commissioner of police have admitted footage of a police officer striking two suspects with his baton during an arrest doesn't look good for the force.

The vision, taken by the Seven Network, showed the arrest of the men in Whitmore Square in the centre of Adelaide.

In it, one of two officers is shown hitting one man twice with his baton and another man three times.

The arrest is now subject to an investigation by the police complaints authority and Mr Rau said he was confident it would be properly examined.

"It (the incident) didn't look good," Mr Rau said.

"But we need to understand something; Our police are placed in difficult circumstances frequently, circumstances that none of the rest of us would ever expect to be placed in in the normal course of our lives.

"I don't wish to pre-judge exactly what the circumstances in that case were."

The police report said the men who were hit were both charged with hindering and resisting police and one was accused of assaulting a police officer and possessing drug equipment.

It also said police reported that the men were being questioned over alleged drug dealing when they attempted to run off.

Deputy Commissioner Grant Stevens also said the vision of the arrest did not look good for police.

"But we have referred that matter to the police complaints authority," he said.

"We need to await the outcome of that investigation."

Shadow Minister for Police, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said he supported an investigation into the incident.

"Given the alleged use of excessive force by police in Whitmore Square, it is 100 per cent appropriate that the police have immediately established an investigation into this matter," Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

Police would not comment on whether the two officers involved have been stood down.

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