Police right to use Taser against man trying to stop north Belfast traffic

Published Date: 22.12.2014

Police were right to use Taser against a man with a knife who was trying to stop traffic in north Belfast, an investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has concluded.

Police received a 999 call on the morning of 21 January 2013, reporting that a man was trying to stop traffic on the Ligoniel Road.

Police Armed Support Units were sent to the area and found a man on the footpath with a large knife in his right hand.

Officers shouted “armed police” and warned the man to drop the knife. At first, he seemed to comply, dropping the knife and beginning to get down on his knees.

But as he did so he picked up the knife and moved towards two officers. Officers again ordered the man to drop the knife, and when he failed to comply an officer discharged his Taser.

The officer told Police Ombudsman investigators he believed the man posed a real and immediate threat and used the Taser in order to protect himself and his colleagues.

However, the Taser was not fully effective, and the man remained standing with the knife. A second officer then discharged his Taser at the man, who fell backwards over a low wall into shrubs.

Officers restrained him, and he was given medical treatment at the scene before being taken to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

Enquiries established that the officers who had used Tasers were fully trained in their use, and had been properly authorised to carry them during the incident.

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of Tasers during the incident had been “lawful, proportionate and necessary.”


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