Published on Apr 1, 2012
Video has emerged purportedly showing four ticket inspectors at Melbourne's Southern Cross train station manhandling a commuter who claims he was bitten on the nose.
Rory James, 22, has claimed he got into a scuffle with at least four inspectors along with his partner Koby, 22, and dad Russell, 46, after they were asked to show their tickets at around 8pm last night.
Mr James said he and his travelling companions did not have tickets because the ticket machine where they boarded the train was not working.
The footage shot by a bystander allegedly shows Mr James pinned to the floor by two plainclothes ticket inspectors as another two restrain his father, who was trying to pull the inspectors off him.
"Four [ticket inspectors] tackled me to the ground and they all laid on top of me ... I said 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe,' and I was trying to squirm away," said Mr James.
The video shows one man desperately clinging onto Mr James around the waist to keep him on the ground while a man in front of him tries to restrain his arms.
When Mr James' father pushes away one of the men from on top of his son he is repeatedly shoved until he stops resisting.
Mr James claims one of the inspectors then spat on him while he while he was pinned, causing him to snap.
"I pretty much used all my energy to get him off me ... and that's when he's just leant over and actually bit me," he said.
The 22-year-old said the inspector who bit him remained sitting on him until police arrived and a policewoman told him to get off before physically pulling him away.
Mr James' father also tried to get the inspectors off but was allegedly put in a headlock and pushed to the ground.
Witness Mark Tutundjian, who filmed the fracas, said he didn't see the young man act violently but the inspectors treated him roughly, digging their knees into him.
A spokesman for Metro Trains Melbourne said ticket inspectors are allowed to detain fare evaders until police arrive but did not specify the type of force that can be used to "hold" someone found travelling without a valid ticket.
Mr James said the trio spoke to police immediately after the incident and planned to lodge a complaint.
The 22-year-old went to hospital where he was given a tetanus shot, tested for infectious diseases and checked for rib soreness.
Metro spokesman Daniel Hoare said one of the inspectors was taken to hospital with injuries and they were checking CCTV footage and conducting an internal investigation.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman told ninemsn police arrested a 22-year-old South Melbourne man after attending an altercation at Southern Cross Station last night, and expect to charge him with assault.
She said police were interviewing all people involved in the incident to try and find out what happened.
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