Melbourne police have caused outrage online after footage emerged showing an officer checking whether a man’s coffee cup was empty or not to verify his excuse for not wearing a mask
The video clip showing several police officers confronting a man on what appears to be a park trail, went viral on social media on Friday and Saturday
One of the officers is seen grabbing the man’s coffee cup while asking, “Do you mind if I check if there’s actually anything in that?”
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He shakes the cup and after establishing that there was liquid inside, backs away and telling the man to enjoy his coffee.
“Coffee cup Gestapo”
RT reports: The 10-second clip ends with the coffee drinker telling the police, “Jesus loves you all. God bless. I’ll be praying for you all.”
While the parkgoer dealt with the confrontation calmly and cordially, and it remains unclear when exactly the footage was recorded, online observers expressed shock over yet another example of Australia’s apparent Covid-19 “authoritarianism.”
Australian podcast host Diogo Correa Coelho said the man would have been fined if police had found his cup to be empty. Pointing out the absurdity of the beverage crackdown, he quipped, “Coffee is known to kill Covid.”
Other Twitter users pointed to the incident as an indication of how severely personal freedoms have been crushed in the Covid-19 era. One commenter tweeted: “Two years ago, if anybody had said, in the future, groups of police officers will be checking to see whether you are carrying an empty coffee cup to avoid wearing a mask… we would have laughed in their face.”
Many observers pointed out the ridiculousness of supposedly protecting people against the spread of a virus by touching a man’s coffee cup while wearing a presumably dirty glove and giving it back to him. As one critic noted, the police officer “touched the coffee cup, thereby increasing the likelihood of transmission, all because someone is enjoying a walk – outside, where the likelihood of transmission is extremely low. But science.”
Others made Nazi comparisons, such as calling the Melbourne police the “coffee cup Gestapo.” One commenter argued that only in a “police state” would officers check someone’s coffee cup so they can fine the citizen for not wearing a mask if it’s empty.
Social media users appeared to give the police no slack for just following orders from higher-ups. Still other observers tried to illustrate the alleged police overreach through humor.
“I am about to go long coffee beans,” one Twitter user said. “This gentleman just found another utility for java. It’s a face-diaper exemption card.” Another commenter sarcastically praised the officers for their bravery, saying, “If just one person is saved, it is worth losing your freedom.”
But many critics suggested that the obliteration of individual liberties in the name of fighting the pandemic won’t be easily reversed. “These people aren’t getting their freedom back unless there’s a complete turnaround of their entire government,” one commenter tweeted.