Officer cleared of using so much force that van door was ripped from its hinges

Published Date: Mar 2017

The Police Ombudsman has rejected a complaint that a police officer pushed a delivery driver with so much force that the door of his van was ripped from its hinges.

The driver also alleged that officers threw his phone on the ground, stamped on his hand when he went to pick it up, and banged his head against a telegraph pole.

The incident happened in Larne in February last year, after police stopped the man and two other people as they were making deliveries in the town.

A Police Ombudsman investigator interviewed those involved and reviewed police records, including a report by a police doctor who examined the driver in police custody following his arrest.

The report noted that he had a cut to his forehead and swelling to a hand.

Officers said man had kicked out as they tried to apply handcuffs.

The officers involved denied having assaulted him, stating that he had become verbally and physically abusive, and had kicked out as they tried to restrain him against a wall in order to apply handcuffs.

An officer also reported that the man had struck him with the van door as he got out of the vehicle, and had himself caused it to come off its hinges by opening it so aggressively.

Of the five witnesses to the incident – three officers and two civilians - only one supported the driver’s account that police had damaged his van and assaulted him. None supported his claim that an officer had stood on his hand when he went to pick up his phone.

The Police Ombudsman investigator concluded, on the balance of evidence, that the complaint was not substantiated.

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