A confused little girl sat in her father’s arms as he was berated by two police officers for not wearing a mask in a Covid hotspot.
But he was unable to comfort her as he was handcuffed with his arms behind his back, sprawled on the ground in a park in south-west Sydney.
The distressed father, 31, had been stopped by police on a walking path in Garrison Point Reserve, in George’s Hall, about 2.20pm on Saturday.
Video shot by a passerby who stopped to intervene shows the man yelling as the officers tell him to calm down.
‘Come on guys, be fair a little bit,’ the man filming said.
‘He’s got a daughter here, she is by herself. Look, the little girl is scared man.’
The officers tell the man filming to calm down and they will explain the situation to him after they have finished speaking to the father.
‘He’s committed an offence,’ the officer says.
‘He hasn’t committed an offence – I walked past and saw everything,’ the man filming rebuts.
The father tells one of the officers he will not speak to them until his daughter is standing by his side.
The officer gestures to the little girl to return her father, with the toddler walking over and plonking down in her dad’s lap.
The man filming tries to interrupt the arrest, but moves back after an officer warns he is hindering police.
‘I was arrested because I was filming,’ the father cries.
‘No, you were arrested because you committed an offence. We asked you to get a mask,’ the officer replies.
‘I told you I am going to drop my daughter off with my sister-in-law then I am going to go for a run,’ the man says.
One of the cops replied: ‘But then you have to leave. You committed an offence.’
The officers remove the handcuffs after the man calms down and reiterate that he was arrested because he ignored an earlier warning to get a mask.
However, the father insists he did nothing wrong and was handcuffed while asking the officers to clarify their direction.
NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia the 31-year-old man was stopped and spoken to by police for not wearing a face covering as officers conducted Covid compliance checks along Beatty Parade.
‘He was unable to provide a valid explanation or exemption,’ NSW Police said.
‘The man allegedly became verbally abusive and aggressive toward police as they continued with their duties.
‘Officers warned the man on multiple occasions about his conduct before he was arrested.’
The man was released and fined for failing to wear a face mark, with no further action anticipated, police said.
Under NSW’s state-wide lockdown, residents are only allowed to leave home for essential reasons, such as authorised work, exercise, healthcare, to buy vital goods, or to be vaccinated.
Face masks are mandatory in all public indoor places – including shops, offices, and common areas of apartment buildings – and outdoors unless exercising.