An outer Melbourne councillor who referred to an alleged victim of police brutality as “chocolate lips” has been stripped of his Indigenous Support portfolio and will be temporarily banished from council meetings.
Hume City Councillor Steve “Jack” Medcraft, who has represented Sunbury and Bulla since 2012, will also undertake cultural diversity training.
“I would like to sincerely apologise for my comments,” Cr Medcraft said in a post on Facebook.
“I never intended any hurt or malice towards others, nor did I appreciate that my comments did not reflect well in my role as a councillor or a community representative.”
The now-deleted comment appeared shortly after the ABC aired dramatic video showing a police officer stomping on the back of a handcuffed man of African appearance.
The man, who was having a psychotic episode and assaulted several people before trying to hold up a Melbourne pharmacy, was repeatedly punched, kicked and hammered with a baton during the arrest.
In a Facebook post that linked to the story, Cr Medcraft wrote “now listen here chocolate lips if you are going to rob someone there are consequences”.
It is not the first time the councillor has written a controversial post about youths of African background.
In another post from 2016 and showing a Victorian Police media release with a picture of African youths, he wrote “Someone must know where these jungle bunnies are”.
The comments enraged people on social media who accused Cr Medcraft of racism.
In responding to these people, Hume City Council said his posts had been deleted.
Hume Mayor Geoff Porter said the council conducted a full investigation and acted by stripping Cr Medcraft of his portfolio.
He said he spoke to Cr Medcraft shortly after he became aware of the comments.
“In a frank conversation, he took responsibility for the comments and gave an immediate unreserved apology,” Cr Porter said.
“I have made it clear that comments of this nature are not the standard that we accept here at Hume City Council, where we pride ourselves on celebrating diversity and being inclusive.”
Cr Medcraft said he would accept the council’s sanctions.