28/01/2020

Police Cleared Of Deliberately Harming Man

The Police Ombudsman has thrown out a complaint that an officer deliberately inflicted pain on a man.

Investigators found no evidence to uphold a complaint in relation to an incident in Co Antrim last month, when police responded to reports that the man had caused damage to a relative's house.

The complainant accused the officers of treating him "like a lesser person" when arrested. He reported that an officer grabbed him by the shoulder after a verbal disagreement, despite having been told that his shoulder was painful from an earlier injury.

The man also accused police of deliberately inflicting pain by fitting handcuffs behind his back, rather than to his front.

Police Ombudsman investigators were therefore bound to obtain accounts from the officers involved and analyse footage from 'Body Worn Video' (BWV) cameras during the incident.

The man had been placed inside a police Land Rover and taken to hospital for assessment following the initial police callout.
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Investigators found that the footage did not appear to show the complainant to be in any discomfort, and that he made no comment about the handcuffs causing him pain. Police policy allows for handcuffs to be fitted to the rear in order to minimise risk in situations where people's behaviour has been volatile.

The BWV footage also showed that when an officer placed a hand on the man's shoulder he advised that it was to stop the man falling forward while the police vehicle was turning a corner.

This happened just after the complainant's phone, which had been placed in an officer's cap for safekeeping, had slid onto the floor of the Land Rover as it went round a bend.

The man later accused officers of mishandling the phone, leading to its screen being cracked when it fell.

However, the Police Ombudsman investigator noted that the floor of the vehicle was carpeted, and that there was no evidence that the screen had not been cracked before it was given to police.

She also found that the footage showed the officers to have treated the man with respect.

The investigator concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct by any of the officers involved, and did not uphold the complaint.



(JG/CM)

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