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“Suicide by cop”: Victorian police officer defends hitting disabled pensioner

“Suicide by cop”: Victorian police officer defends hitting disabled pensioner

A Victorian Police officer said that he genuinely felt he was facing a “suicide by cop” scenario when he repeatedly hit a disabled pensioner with a baton and stood on his head during a welfare check.

Pensioner John was also pepper sprayed during the ordeal with six police officers and the welfare check was ordered after he failed to return messages from a counsellor and withdrew from opioid medication.

Senior Constable John Edney is one of three officers who are fighting assault charges over the September 2017 incident.

"I did believe it was a real suicide by cop scenario," he told a contested hearing at Heidelberg Magistrates Court, according to 9news.

Edney also said that he believed that John was armed and posed a threat to police officers.

Video footage played to the court showed John answering a knock from Edney at his front door and said he wanted to be alone.

"I don't want to f------ talk," he screams.

"Get off my f------ property.

"If you get the crowbar, you'll have to shoot me,” John continued.

"I've been maced before and nothing happened."

Edney said that his fear increased after that interaction and believed that John had weapons inside his house.

"Part of the reason of going into his house was to check for weapons," he told prosecutor Diana Manova.

"I did believe he was armed."

The officers then pulled the pensioner to the ground and restrained him while Edney hit John’s calf with the baton six times and put his foot on his head.

Edney said that both moves were justified as he was concerned John may “bite and spit” at police. When asked if he considered those actions appropriate, Edney said “Yes”.

Senior Constable Brad McLeod and Senior Constable Florian Hilgart are also charged over the assault.