Officer cautioned for assault after altercation with teenage girl over music

Published Date: 27.03.2015

A police officer alleged to have grabbed a teenage girl by her hair and cardigan and tripped her up while wrenching a music speaker from her grasp, has been cautioned for assault following a Police Ombudsman investigation.

He was among a number of police officers sent to assist with locking a public park in west Belfast on an evening in the summer of 2013.

The girl told Police Ombudsman investigators that she was with some friends listening to music when the officer came over and told her that if she didn’t turn off the speaker he was going to “stick his baton through it”.

The girl said she turned the speaker off, but after speaking to a female officer who told her it was OK to play music as long as it wasn’t too loud and didn’t cause annoyance, she turned it back on.

The male officer then returned and during a struggle as he tried to take the speaker from her, the girl said he grabbed her by the hair and cardigan and tripped her up, before standing on her right hand after she fell. He then told her she could collect the speaker from the local police station.

When interviewed, the officer said the music had been very loud and was causing a disturbance. He said the girl swore at him and ran off, and he tried to grab her cardigan but grasped some of her hair as well. He denied tripping her up, but said she had fallen to the ground as he had twisted his body to wrench the speaker from her grasp.

Police Ombudsman investigators interviewed a number of witnesses, including other officers, who noted that the atmosphere in the park, which had been relaxed and friendly, had deteriorated after the officer’s intervention.

A file was submitted to the Public Prosecution Service which imposed a caution on the officer, who has since also been disciplined by the PSNI.

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