12/06/2018

Police Officer Cleared After Man Complained Of 'Oppressive Behaviour'

A police officer has been cleared after a man complained of his "oppressive behaviour" towards him as he attempted to collect his son from a concert in south Belfast.

The man, whose complaint has been rejected by the Police Ombudsman, had asked to park in a closed-off slip road before attempting to turn into a lane blocked off by a police Land Rover. He said the officer assaulted him before threatening to shoot him as he edged forward in his car.

He said the officer had grabbed him by the arms and stuck his knuckles into his throat after he got out of his vehicle at the Lisburn Road end of Stockman’s Lane in August last year. This, he said, had caused bruising under his chin which had been confirmed at the Mater Hospital.
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However, Police Ombudsman investigators, who interviewed the officer under caution, took accounts from members of the public and other police officers, and reviewed Body Worn (BWV) video footage, rejected the man’s claims that the officer had acted oppressively.

The officer denied any wrongdoing but admitted to threatening to shoot after the complainant had driven towards him. He said his actions were necessary due to the man's "aggressive demeanour" and his failure to heed police directions.

He also stated that when he was putting the man into the Land Rover, where he cautioned him for a motoring offence, a struggle had ensued, but he denied assault.

Eyewitness accounts from several members of the public and other police officers supported the officer’s version of events. Body worn video did not capture the initial incident but did show the officer take hold of the man’s arm and jacket as he attempted to return to his car. It also showed that it was a notebook in the officer’s hand which come into contact with the man’s neck, rather than his fist as the complainant had alleged.

A report was sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) which directed no prosecution of the officer.

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