Victoria Police data shows people of African and Middle Eastern descent received four times as many fines for breaking health guidelines during the Covid pandemic than their share of the population.
The data suggests that freedom protesters were not, as many insisted at the time, mostly far-right conspiracy theorists or Nazis.
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Young people of ethnic backgrounds were more likely to be fined for Covid breaches as a percentage of the population.
Internal police records, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, show that Victorian police issued more than 37,000 Covid-related fines in 2020 alone.
Moreover, the records show that in most instances police recorded the racial appearance of offenders.
Around 20 per cent of fines went to people of either African or Middle Eastern appearance despite the fact that, according to 2021 Census figures, they comprise only about 5 per cent of the State’s population.
The data showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders copped 2.5 per cent of the fines, while making up just 1 per cent of the state's population.
Racial profiling researcher Tamar Hopkins told the ABC that the data showed “patterns of disproportionate policing being applied."
But Police rejected suggestions that officers targeted racial groups.
A police spokesperson said fines were issued for deliberate and blatant offences.
"Victoria Police rejects any suggestion that officers targeted specific ethnic groups for COVID-19 offences," the spokesperson said. "This is simply not true."
Fines issued for breaches of Covid rules typically went to younger people, with a median age of offenders being recorded as 28, 10 years younger than the State’s median age. For African and Middle Eastern people the offenders have a median age of 23.