Police were justified in using taser after man cuts his wrist

Published Date: 06.05.2015

A POLICE Ombudsman investigation has concluded that a police officer was justified in using Taser against a 35-year-old man who had sliced his wrist, and who appeared ready to cut more deeply into the wound .

The incident, which happened in east Belfast on 19 March 2014, was referred by police to the Police Ombudsman’s Office for independent investigation.

During their investigation, Police Ombudsman investigators examined police records and considered evidence secured at the incident scene by a crime scene investigator, along with the training records of the officer who used the weapon.

They established that local uniform officers had arrived at the scene within four minutes of the incident being reported, and armed response officers within eight minutes.

The officers said they saw the man on his living room floor, with a deep cut to his left wrist which was bleeding heavily.

He appeared to be heavily intoxicated and emotionally distressed, and one of his friends told officers that the man was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Officers said they negotiated with him for 20 minutes, asking him on several occasions to put down the knife. One officer said he believed the injury to the man’s wrist to be potentially life threatening, and when he appeared to move the knife towards the injury again, he then discharged his Taser.

The officer told a Police Ombudsman investigator that he believed any further injury to the artery would be life-threatening. He said he shouted a warning before discharging the weapon at the man’s chest.

Officers were then able to take the knife from the man, allowing paramedics to treat him.

No public complaint about the use of Taser was received by the Police Ombudsman’s Office. Training records also showed that the officer was trained and authorised in the use of the weapon at the time of the incident.

The Police Ombudsman concluded on the basis of the evidence that the police decision to use Taser had been “legal, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances.”



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