Police Question Man As He Exercised In 'Bomb Vest'

A school teacher walking with a friend was approached by two police officers, after members of the public reported a man wearing a bomb vest.

Setio Shanahan, 38, said first noticed the patrol cars driving by when he was with a friend in Mount Gambia, South Australia.

He was surprised when an officer walked towards him to inspect his vest, telling him there'd been reports of strange behaviour by a man matching his description wearing a "suspicious" vest. 

"He came right up to me and he sorta tapped me on the shoulder, and he said, 'weight vest?'" Shanahan told 10 daily on Thursday.

Image: supplied

"And I said, yeah, it's a weight vest. Any reason why?"

Shanahan said the officer was friendly and quickly realised there wasn't any threat from the 50-kilogram vest, but it the incident has left a lasting impression on him.

READ MORE: Depressed? Science Says You Should Go For a 15-Minute Run

Adopted from Indonesia in 1983, he's lived in Mount Gambier for 33 years, and said the South Australian town has come a long way with its acceptance of migrants, but he can't help feeling like he was reported because of his ethnic background.

Image: caption

"I felt a little bit targeted, you know, like why am I having to explain myself?"

He said he later reflected on recent police violence in the United States, and is grateful the situation was able to be resolved so calmly by local officers.

"To the credit of the police, they were able to justify the reason, which was to make sure that the public facility was safe."

'While there was no cause for alarm, police would rather the public report unusual behaviour so patrols can attend to make an assessment,' local police  said in a statement.

READ MORE: Race Discrimination Complaints Almost Doubled In 2018

'Police wish to reassure Mount Gambier residents that we live in a very safe city, but it does not mean that we are excluded from that threat.

'You only have to look at the recent event in Christchurch, which is also considered a very safe place. The public are asked to be alert, but not alarmed.'

The school teacher shared his experience with his school students he said its a "tool" to educate them about "racial profiling".

"I said to them you can divide this up into three areas. You can laugh it off, be cautious and be aware, but then there's still that racial stigma."

Contact the author