Published Date: 22.03.2017
Claims that police assaulted a man suspected of drink driving after finding him asleep in his car have been rejected following an investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office.
The man denied that he had been drinking and claimed to have parked his car after feeling tired, before getting into the back seat and falling asleep.
He said he only became aware of police when they started trailing him into the front of the vehicle before dragging him out through a front door.
He accused an officer of deliberately standing on his foot, causing a suspected fracture, as well as injuring his hand. The incident happened in Co. Derry/Londonderry last July.
After being taken into police custody, the man said he had been held for three days without justification. He added that police were wrong when they said he had failed to provide a sample of breath as he had tried to do so.
When a Police Ombudsman investigator looked at police records, she found that the man had been recorded as being highly intoxicated when he was taken into police custody.
Doctor's report made no reference to any injuries.
Notes written by a doctor who examined him made no reference to any injuries, or any allegations against police.
An ambulance had also been called as police had been unable to waken the man’s wife, who was sleeping in the front seat of the car. Ambulance staff said they had seen nothing untoward about police actions.
The man’s account of having been trailed into the front of the car was challenged by the officers involved. They explained that as the car had four doors, there would have been no need for them to remove him in that way.
This was corroborated by the man’s wife, who said her husband had been dragged out of a rear door by the feet.
Enquiries also showed that the man had been held for an extended period as he was on court bail, and police checks had indicated he was not living at his bail address.
He was held in custody until the next available court hearing, resulting in him being detained for around one day and six hours, and not three days as claimed.
Police documentation also confirmed that the man had failed to provide a breath sample of the standard required for a breath test.
The investigator closed the man’s complaint as unsubstantiated.