More than 200 young people left the record launch.
More than 200 young people left the record launch.

Cops have ‘lost control’ of Victoria

VICTORIA Police is under fire after a brutal street brawl involving more than 200 youths left a teenage boy fighting for his life in hospital and residents cowering in their homes.

About 2.30am Sunday, 200 people spilt out of the Gasometer Hotel on Smith St in Collingwood after a record launch event finished.

Dozens of them started walking down the street, taking up the entire road and blocking traffic, before things escalated into an all-out brawl.

Seven people were injured, including an 18-year-old boy pinned against a parked vehicle when an accelerating car hit him.

Home Affairs Minister and failed PM challenger Peter Dutton said the incident showed the state government needed to change the way it dealt with youth crime.

"Daniel Andrews has lost control of law and order in Victoria," Mr Dutton told The Australian.

"The longer the Premier refuses to act, the more people will be at risk of serious injury."

 

CCTV footage captures the brawl in motion.
CCTV footage captures the brawl in motion.

 

Three cars were damaged in the early hours of Sunday morning. Picture: Julian Smith
Three cars were damaged in the early hours of Sunday morning. Picture: Julian Smith

The Age reports the injured 18-year-old, who is in hospital with critical leg injuries, was standing with the person accused of fatally stabbing 19-year-old Laa Chol.

Ms Chol was stabbed to death on the balcony of a high-rise Melbourne apartment block in July. Two male teenagers, a 16-year-old and 17-year-old, have been charged with her murder.

According to The Age, police were told that a rival group would attend the 66 Records launch, but declined a request to roster more officers on to de-escalate the event.

Three patrol cars were tasked with keeping an eye on the launch and police had flagged the venue for monitoring, but North West commander Tim Hansen maintained there was no intelligence in the lead-up that it was going to be a high-risk event.

A day before the launch, event organiser J-Nelly told revellers to be on their best behaviour in a Facebook post writing, "violence will not be tolerated".

"A moment of anger isn't worth a lifetime of bad labeling (sic)," he wrote in all capitals.

J-Nelly said organisers had also met with ''federal detectives, who are very concerned with the energy, which they have related to the latest sparks of new reports degrading the African community".

 

The damaged cars on Mater St, Collingwood.
The damaged cars on Mater St, Collingwood.

 

Dozens of people were involved in the brawl. Picture: 7 News
Dozens of people were involved in the brawl. Picture: 7 News

Commander Hansen said the escalating behaviour came out of left field.

Witnesses said police in the three patrol cars effectively had to stand and watch the dozens of people violently brawl due to being severely outnumbered.

Victoria Police said they were narrowing in on the driver of the car that critically injured the man.

A spokesman said officers expected to catch up with the offender today.

Police gather evidence at the scene of the violent Collingwood brawl. Picture: Sarah Matray
Police gather evidence at the scene of the violent Collingwood brawl. Picture: Sarah Matray

An 18-year-old man was arrested yesterday while police executed a search warrant at his property.

He was interviewed and relesed, pending further investigation.

Officers are also still searching for the people who instigated the all-out brawl that left six other people injured and three cars damaged.

Former Victoria Police chief commissioner Kel Glare said the state's officers needed to change the way it approached potentially high-risk events.

"I am losing hope this will be solved under the current leadership of Victoria Police," Mr Glare told The Australian.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also turned his attention to the state's police and questioned why other parts of Australia don't have an "African gangs problem".

"We have the highest proportion of Sudanese population in NSW, we don't have these problems in NSW," Mr Morrison told 3AW.

"Why is it happening in Melbourne? Law and order means something in NSW.

"I feel for Victorians who are asking the big question, why is this happening in our city, and not in other places?"

"There is a law and order problem, clearly in Victoria.

"We have a police force, that is a force."