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Video shows alleged police violence in Vienna

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Video shows alleged police violence in Vienna
A still image from the video. Credit: Falter/Vice
17:53 CEST+02:00
A video has emerged which allegedly shows police officers in Vienna physically abusing a man for no apparent reason, after arresting him.

The video appears to show how the young man is brutally thrown face first to the ground and apparently injured.

The incident was filmed by a witness who was passing by Praterstern in Vienna’s second district, and sent the recording to both Falter and Vice magazines.

Police spokesman Johann Golob told the ORF broadcaster that an internal investigation is being carried out within the police force, and confirmed that the two officers shown in the video are members of a riot police team.

He added that the two officers face internal disciplinary measures as well as potential criminal charges if found guilty of assault and mistreating a prisoner.

The video of the incident, which took place on July 28th, shows two policeman violently throwing a man to the ground, who was already in handcuffs. His head hits the concrete, he cries out in pain, and it looks like he has been injured.

Research by Falter and Vice revealed that the 27-year-old man was a suspected pickpocket, who had neither attacked the police, nor resisted arrest. He was later set free from police custody by the state prosecutor.

The Falter article reports that the police officers claimed afterwards that the man had injured himself by "pressing his head against the wall" in order to escape arrest. However, the video appears to show the opposite - a man who is totally passive, being physically abused.

"It clearly looks like the force used by the two officers was completely out of proportion," Johann Golob told AFP. "The way they grabbed his throat is definitely not part of our way of doing things."

It is the second time this year that Vienna police officers have been filmed allegedly assaulting someone. On New Year’s Eve a businesswoman said that she was thrown to the ground so viciously that she suffered a fractured coccyx.

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