A man working with a youth charity was arrested outside a locked-down public housing tower in Flemington, Melbourne just before 10 pm on Tuesday night.
The man was trying to deliver food to residents and dramatic footage of the arrest shows police swarming the man.
He yells “I can't breathe”.
Australasian Mercy Secondary School Association Youth Connect arrived just after 9 pm with groceries for residents. Volunteers claim that they waited around for about half an hour before deliveries were able to begin and the fight broke out shortly after.
Counsellor Tigist Kebede filmed the incident and is heard yelling for the man to be let go as he scuffles with the police.
“Please, please don’t choke him, please … he’s just trying to deliver food,” she says.
Moments later, three officers appear to tackle him to the ground.
At one point in the clip, Tigist approaches the man to check on him.
“I’m good,” he says. “These guys are sick bro, I didn’t touch him … why? How?”
A Victoria Police spokeswoman told NCA NewsWire said that there were two men involved in the fight on Tuesday night after an unknown man allegedly became verbally aggressive towards police about 9:50 pm.
“The unknown man ran off from the scene, while the other man, a 28-year-old from Altona North who was refusing the direction of police, was arrested,” she said.
“The Altona North man has been released pending further inquiries with police still to follow up the identity of the unknown man.”
“I was so afraid this was going to be another viral black death,” she wrote in a statement posted to Instagram.
“We were lucky. That’s it.”
Tigist said it was only by luck that the man did not die during the argument.
“We shouldn’t have to rely on luck,” she said.
“What happens when we’re not so fortunate? Does someone die? Does someone get injured?
“Why are we exposed to violence and trauma for providing an essential service we were approved to do?”
Photo credits: The Coloured Therapist
This article originally appeared on Over60.