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Police Said A Journalist Was "Off His Chops" On Drugs, But He Just Had A Cold

The ABC's Josh Bavas tweeted footage of the incident, which quickly spread online.

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A journalist who was briefly detained and called "off his chops" by Queensland police says he won't take the matter any further after video of the incident drew attention online.

Brisbane, Australia based ABC reporter Josh Bavas tweeted footage of the incident, in which a police officer accused him of being on drugs because his pupils weren't dilating in the sun, on Saturday.

Bavas said he was briefly detained outside his local Bunnings after he sat down to recover from a sneezing fit brought on by a cold.

The journalist told the ABC that while he was sitting down behind his car he was approached by an officer identifying himself as Senior Constable Richard Power.

"Mate, the fact that you've got pinpoint eyes and you're looking directly into the sun and they're not dilating due to the sunlight, I believe you to be under the influence of a dangerous drug," Power told him.

The officer said he was detaining Bavas for the purposes of a search because he was "off his chops".

When Bavas replied that he was not on drugs, another officer said Bavas would "float off into fucking outer space" if the officers didn't hold on to him.

Bavas tweeted - then deleted - footage of the incident, but not before it spread online and was picked up by several media outlets.

In a statement, Queensland police confirmed that Bavas did not have any illegal drugs on him and said it would conduct an investigation into the incident.

"In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, senior officers have reviewed the footage and are examining the behaviour of the police involved," a police spokesperson said in a statement.

Bavas told the ABC he had done nothing to warrant attention from police. He said he was sitting behind a car containing two Aboriginal men and a woman, and that police said they had problems with drug dealers in the car park.

In a series of tweets on Saturday night, Bavas said he would not take the incident any further.

All's well that ends well. May have had something to do with my red shorts and green shoes. Now back to building a retaining wall.

For the record, it's all water under the bridge. Police have a job to do. Won't be following this any further. A strange misunderstanding.

Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Rob Stott at

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