Claims Officer Used Excessive Force Against Man Rejected

Claims that a police officer used excessive force and homophobic language against a man who was arrested for disorderly behaviour have been rejected, following a Police Ombudsman investigation.

The incident happened in Belfast in June last year.

The man claimed that after being stopped by police, an officer threw him to the ground and held him there with his knee on his neck.

He also claimed that an officer had made a homophobic remark, and said that while being taken into custody he had been pushed up against a window of a police car and held against it by his neck.

He also alleged that a large clump of his hair had been pulled from his scalp as a bobble was removed while staff dealt with him in the custody suite.

Police Ombudsman investigators interviewed the officers who had dealt with the man, reviewed police documentation, and sourced CCTV footage from the custody suite.

There was no CCTV footage of the man's initial arrest, however the officers involved said they decided to approach him after seeing him and his sister walking in a high crime area in the early hours of the morning.

The officers said the man put up the hood of his sweatshirt as they drove past.

An officer said man "went berserk" when stopped.
News Image
They said that within seconds of stopping him he shouted and screamed and pulling everything out of his pockets before being asked to do so.

They also described how, as he was being taken to custody after being arrested, he kicked out at the driver of the police car, forcing the driver to stop the car so that the man could be properly restrained.

CCTV footage from the custody suite showed the man acting aggressively and resisting police staff, but the Police Ombudsman investigator said the situation had been "well managed".

He was restrained on a mattress on the floor and staff could be heard telling him to calm down.

A medical examination carried out while he was in custody indicated that he suffered redness to his wrists but no other injuries. There was no evidence that a clump of hair had been pulled from the man's scalp or that an officer had placed a knee on his neck.

An officer commented that he was not surprised the man's wrists were red given the amount of resistance he had put up while handcuffed.

There was also no other evidence to substantiate the man's claim that an officer had made a homophobic comment during the man's arrest.

The man has since received an adult caution for his behaviour during the incident.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 October 2014
Police Cancel Appeal For Missing Omagh Man
Police have said they believe missing Omagh man, Shane Sharkey, has been found in the Republic of Ireland. A police appeal for help in finding the 35-year-old has been cancelled, with police saying they now believe they know where he is. No further details have been released but police thanked the public for their help.
03 July 2007
Man questioned about 1988 murder
A man has been arrested in connection with police inquiries into a murder in 1988. The body of Lily Smyth, 66, was found in her flat at Moveen House in Dunmurry on October 9, 1988. The pensioner had been strangled. A police spokesperson said that a 43-year-old man had been arrested and is being questioned at Antrim Police Station.
06 August 2014
Police Vehicle Contracts Arrest - Man Released
A 54-year-old member of police staff who was arrested in County Antrim as part of ongoing investigations into the awarding of vehicle contracts has been released. The man was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and has been taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning.
28 March 2007
House of Lords vote for ‘50/50’ police force
The House of Lords has renewed the 50/50 recruitment rule for the PSNI by a majority of 44. It puts into practice a recommendation made in 1999 by Lord Patten that the local police force should be split evenly between Catholics and Protestants. The result of the vote was 141 to 97.
14 August 2007
Man Remanded Over Rape Charge
A man has been remanded in custody charged with raping a woman in County Tyrone. The 20-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons has also been charged with assault and grievous bodily harm to the woman. The charge relates to an attack in Stewartstown in County Tyrone on Sunday.