Police officers cleared of excessive force claims

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire
Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire

The Police Ombudsman has cleared officers of beating a man up as he was arrested.

The family of the man – who the ombudsman’s report did not name – had alleged that he was subjected to excessive force when police came to his Enniskillen home in July 2015.

The ombudsman said it was then claimed the man was “trailed into the garden, where he was thrown to the ground before two officers punched and kicked him and struck him with a baton”.

It was also alleged that the man’s handcuffs had been put on too tightly and that an officer tightened them further when he complained.

Five civilian witnesses gave statements to the ombudsman. The officers involved were interviewed and police documents were examined, including the report of the incident from a police doctor.

The ombudsman described the witness accounts from the civilian onlookers as “inconsistent”, adding that it “was not supported by the evidence from the medical examination”.

Two out of the five witnesses said the man had been punched by a male officer.

The number of punches and where they were supposed to have been aimed differed.

There were also discrepancies in the descriptions of a female officer’s role in the incident.

The doctor noted “superficial marks” to the man’s wrists, forearms and back, with no marks to suggest he had been punched, kicked or struck with a baton.

The injuries to the man’s wrists were said to be consistent with him having struggled while wearing the handcuffs.

The Police Ombudsman investigator concluded that there was “insufficient evidence that the level of force used by officers during the incident was excessive”.