Published Date: 11.09.2015
The Police Ombudsman’s Office has said police acted properly when they used Taser against a man who threatened them near Portadown in May 2013.
On the evening of 22 May 2013 police received a 999 call that a man with a hammer had assaulted a woman and threatened her son.
Police say they went to the address where the incident was alleged to have taken place and spoke to two men who were outside. They say one of them then went inside the property and refused police requests to come out.
Police then made the decision to arrest this man. They say that when they entered the house he came at them with a broken piece of glass. Officers said that they fired a Taser at the man and missed and fired a second time, hitting him. They then arrested the man and took him to Lurgan police station.
The Police Ombudsman’s Office investigates each incident when a police weapon is used. The man who had been Tasered complained to the Office that police had used more force than was necessary, that they hand handcuffed him too tightly and that he should have been taken to hospital before going to a police station.
Police Ombudsman investigators examined the scene, recovered all the relevant items and reviewed all the related police documentation. They spoke to the police officers who were present, to the man who was Tasered and to the man who lived in the property. They also conducted house to house inquiries, but this did not identify any further witnesses.
The man who had been Tasered said that when police had arrived at the house he had been drinking with a friend. He said he invited one of the police officers inside, but she refused.
He said he then saw a red light at a window and assumed it to be a Taser light. The man said he got up out of his chair, with a glass still in his hand, held his hands out wide and moved to the door. He said it was at this point that he was Tasered.
The person who lived in the house said that when police arrived on the scene they asked his friend to come outside, but he refused. He said they then asked him to persuade his friend, but this too his proved unsuccessful. The man said he was then placed in a police car which was parked across the street.
One of the police officers told Police Ombudsman investigators that the man inside the house was refusing to comply with police and was threatening them with a glass bottle.
The police officer whose Taser struck the man said he felt he was at risk of serious injury.
The police officer who later handcuffed the man said at no stage did he complain that the cuffs were too tight or ask for them to be loosened.
The officer who took the decision to take the man to Lurgan police station rather than to a hospital said the man would have had a chance to be medically assessed at the station and given any treatment he needed.
As well as concluding that the use of the Taser was necessary, the Police Ombudsman’s Office said it found insufficient evidence to support the allegation that that the man’s handcuffs were applied too tightly.
It also found that the officer who chose to take the man to a police station rather than a hospital was correct in doing so.