Published Date: Dec 2021
A Police Ombudsman investigation has found no evidence to support a man’s claim that police attacked him and broke his ankle while he was regaining consciousness following a confrontation with door staff in Belfast.
The man alleged that officers had either struck him with batons or jumped on his legs as he was coming round after striking his head on the ground during the earlier scuffle with door staff. The incident happened in Belfast city centre in August last year.
The complainant also alleged that he had been ‘tied up’ by officers and kneed to the head before being thrown into a police van.
He stated that the injuries inflicted on him by police included a broken right ankle, bruising to both elbows, cuts and swelling to both legs and a swollen left cheek.
He also alleged that he had suffered concussion as a result of police actions, even though it had been during the earlier confrontation with door staff that he said he had lost consciousness.
When a Police Ombudsman investigator viewed footage from local CCTV cameras and police body-worn video cameras, it showed that the complainant had not been struck by police at any time during the incident.
Man was fully conscious and threatening police.
Instead, it showed that he was fully conscious and threatening police, who were trying to restrain him. Three officers, two of them female, were at the scene. They managed to put the man to the ground before fitting leg restraints.
He was then placed in a police car and taken to police custody, where he was he was noted to have been ‘violent and intoxicated’.
Video footage also showed him kicking and punching at door staff during the earlier confrontation.
Two members of the public described the complainant as having been “totally uncontrollable” and “struggling constantly” with police. They stated that officers had not struck him with batons or jumped on his legs, and added that he had accused door staff of breaking his leg before police arrived.
The man was examined by a police doctor at Musgrave custody suite. Some swelling and bruising was noted, and a subsequent x-ray showed that he had not suffered a broken ankle as alleged.
The investigator also noted that a photo supplied by the complainant as evidence of the injuries he said had been caused by police, was also given by him to police as evidence of injuries allegedly inflicted by door staff.
The investigator concluded that the man’s complaint should not be upheld given that all of the evidence, including CCTV and body worn video, contradicted his account.