Officers justified in using TASERs against man with razor blade

An investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has found that police acted appropriately when TASER stun guns were used against a man who had cut himself with a razor blade and was threatening to harm himself and others.

The incident happened in south Belfast in July 2016 after a member of the man’s family contacted police.

Officers from an Armed Response Unit were first to arrive. They found the man in an alleyway behind his house and noticed blood on his arms.

The officers reported that he produced the blade from his pocket and threatened to attack them, before using it to cut his neck and arms.

An officer said he drew his TASER and aimed at the man, but the device initially failed to discharge.  He then aimed away in order to put it into safety mode and reload, at which point it discharged inadvertently.

The barbs missed the man, who was then reported to have moved towards the officers with the blade in his hand.

At this point a second officer discharged TASER. The discharge was successful, causing the man to fall to the ground and drop the blade.

He was then restrained and arrested before being taken to hospital. Officers reported that he continued to be volatile and aggressive while en route, which resulted in him also being arrested for disorderly behaviour and assault on police.

The man and the family member who contacted police were spoken to by a Police Ombudsman investigator following the incident. Neither had any concerns about police actions, or wished to make a complaint.

The officers who used TASER were found to be properly trained and authorised to use the weapon.
The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of TASER by police had been lawful, proportionate and necessary. 
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