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Accusations fly as ugly spat between fire victims and police escalates into physical altercation

An ugly spat between the family that runs Jinks Creek Winery and Victoria Police has escalated further, with both parties making allegations of violence.

Winery operator Andrew Clarke’s son, 19, has been released pending summons following an altercation with a police officer on Wednesday afternoon at Tonimbuk.

Police allege a 19-year-old became verbally aggressive toward a senior constable while the officer was seated in his police vehicle about 4pm.

It’s claimed that when the officer stepped out of his car, the teenager pushed him to the chest and had to be restrained and taken to the ground to prevent any further altercation.

Officers say they called an ambulance “as a precaution” after being informed the man had an “unrelated injury”, police told 3AW.

He was taken to Warragul hospital in a stable condition and released by police pending summons in relation to “assaulting police”.

But the Andrew Clarke, who has become a public face following the devastating Gippsland bushfires at the weekend, has a different version of affairs.

Mr Clarke earlier this week told 3AW a police officer tried to book him as he tried to get back to the winery to save his dogs.

And on Wednesday he told Tom Elliott his son, Charlie, was taken to hospital after an altercation with an officer.

He said the dispute started with a comment the officer made on Saturday.

“The policeman grabbed him around the neck and threw him on the ground,” Mr Clarke alleges.

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