Constable Bradley Moyle, 36, a Mount Gambier cop and army veteran who had been deployed to Afghanistan, appeared in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court yesterday facing three charges of aggravated assault.
The charges arose from an incident in which he shoved then twice punched an inebriated girl in the face.
At around 11.20pm on August 22, 2021, Kiara Beck was ejected from Mount Gambier’s Commercial Hotel after allegedly getting into an “altercation” with her partner.
It was in the hotel’s parking lot that Moyle first came across Ms Beck.
Body cam footage of police officers was played in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court, showing Ms Beck being forcibly taken to the ground after she tried to kick the approaching officers.
As Ms Beck wailed on the ground, Moyle can be heard heavily reprimanding the woman’s hysterics.
“Do not kick police — do not kick police — we’re here to help — do you want to get locked up for assaulting police — then calm down,” Moyle said.
Moyle said Ms Beck was acting erratic and belligerent, telling the court he believed she was intoxicated with alcohol and potentially illicit substances.
Ms Beck was taken to the Mount Gambier Hospital by ambulance, but soon left and by 1.50am Moyle was called to assist police after bouncers refused to allow her into a second pub, the Mac’s Hotel.
Still wearing her hospital admission bracelet, Ms Beck continued to argue with police as she searched for her missing boyfriend and phone, the court heard.
Police body cam footage revealed Moyle’s frustration as the woman repeatedly asked officers to enter the hotel to find both, the court heard.
Constable Moyle can be heard saying “that’s not our job”, “what is wrong with you” and “you’re an idiot, a deadset idiot”.
Though Ms Beck had allegedly committed a number of offences, such as interfering with a motor vehicle and disorderly conduct, Moyle said police were hoping to avoid an arrest.
Moyle said officers tried to avoid arresting people as it would take officers off the street, the court heard.
Another officer attempted to coax Ms Beck into a taxi, telling her to go home.
Ms Beck repeatedly refused, instead threatening the taxi driver by calling him a “c***”, the court heard.
Constable Moyle told the court he had shoved Ms Beck into the taxi in the hope she would realise police were serious about potentially charging her with disorderly behaviour.
After receiving a shove to the chest, Ms Beck began swearing and started kicking her legs, which constable Moyle said was the point he decided to arrest her, the court heard.
Ms Beck allegedly grabbed constable Moyle’s collar – preventing her from placing her on her stomach to arrest her, the court heard.
Constable Moyle then punched Ms Beck in the face twice, claiming the blows were a police-approved “distraction strike”.
Despite the frustrated demeanour he displayed on body cam, Moyle repeatedly denied he became increasing annoyed and frustrated when dealing with Beck.
Moyle agreed he was much bigger than Ms Beck – who was 150 cm tall and weighed 50 kilograms – and that she never had a chance of overpowering him.
He claimed that while she was on her back there was a chance she could gouge at his eyes, scratch him and spit on him (imaginary, never-launched wads of saliva are a classic SAPOL standby for justifying police brutality).
Moyle told the court police were not able to give Ms Beck a ride home because they had been instructed by management not to carry a person in the back of a sedan due to the risk of COVID-19 infections. So they tried to palm the alleged risk off to a tax driver instead.
Moyle, 36, is facing three counts of aggravated assault against Beck, now 21, in relation to the incident.
An application by the defence for the trial to be aborted because there was no case to answer was refused.
A police spokesman confirmed constable Moyle was suspended with pay from June 24, 2022 and this remained the case.
This incident highlights two things: Australia’s moronic drinking culture, and its militaristic police culture which believes verbally and physically abusing people who are clearly not in a sound state of mind is an appropriate way to achieve compliance. Australian police generally have no clue about effective de-escalation, and comments by police commissioners like Grant Stevens and Mick Fuller reveal a preference for violence and intimidation over de-escalation and community policing.