Outback cop tells how he stopped ‘ragdoll’ attack on police

An Outback cop who fought off accused thugs bashing two police in St Kilda says he knew “something needed to done”.

Constable Lucas-John O’Donoghue — whose usual beat is a remote town 500km west of Alice Springs — was in Melbourne for an Eminem concert when he saw the officers being attacked.

The 26-year-old father said he couldn’t ignore the potential danger his southern colleagues were facing, and stepped in.

“It reached the point where one of the police officers wasn’t getting up. And I thought, well, if he’s not getting up and someone tries to grab his gun or something else off his belt, it could turn really bad,’’ Constable O’Donoghue said.

“That’s when I just ran out and pretty much shirtfronted the bald man to get him away … I managed to push him far enough back to create a bit of space and I was just telling them all to leave it and move away.”

At least half a dozen people set upon the officers on Fitzroy St after police responded to an assault on a transgender woman.

One officer was “ragdolled”, his head repeatedly smashed to the ground. Sickening video footage of the incident sparked outrage.

Constable O’Donoghue said he was with his brother and friends when the police came under attack.

Both officers had fallen to the ground and were struggling to get up.

“I saw a bald man standing over one of the officers and I just thought at that moment the situation was turning bad,’’ Constable O’Donoghue said.

“I was also thinking do I want to involve myself and potentially be another hindrance, because they might think I’m just another person from the group.

“I jumped over a tram stop and saw that someone had tripped this guy over and restrained him by the legs, so I ran over to him and he was trying to fight the guy off, so I jumped on his back and grabbed his arms to hold him, before police arrived to take over.

“The police were trying to pull me off the guy and then one of my friends told them that I was a cop, and they handcuffed the guy and arrested him.”

Constable O’Donoghue, who works in the Northern Territory town of Kintore near the WA border, said he felt compelled to act despite his mates insisting he shouldn’t.

He returned to Melbourne with partner Brooke and their baby daughter Harper last month where he was awarded a Police Association certificate of recognition to a standing ovation.

“On one hand I did think about the fact that I have three young children at home and I had no equipment on me and I was in an unfamiliar place … but on the other hand, I was happy that I did step in and do something, so at least I could say that I tried to help,’’ Constable O’Donoghue said.

“I just knew that something needed to happen because if one of those people took one of the police officers’ guns, then there could have been a lot of damage caused.”

Six people have been charged and bailed over the February 24 incident.

The officers involved sustained serious injuries — one a ruptured bicep and the other head lacerations.

One officer has returned to work while the other is still off recovering.

Published in the Herald Sun on Sunday 7 April.

The full story will appear in the TPAV Journal April edition.