Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Kelly withdraws legal action over Land Rover row

By Rebecca Black

A Sinn Fein MLA who launched a legal case against the PSNI after he was carried on the bonnet of a police Land Rover has withdrawn his action.

Gerry Kelly claimed that he changed his mind within days of announcing the action because of fears it had increased political tensions.

Footage of the former IRA prisoner remonstrating with an officer inside the PSNI vehicle before being carried along clinging to the bonnet hit the headlines last June.

The scenes took place in the Carrick Hill area shortly after an Orange Order parade had passed St Patrick's Church.

A nationalist youth had been arrested by police shortly before the incident, which had sparked local discontent.

Mr Kelly said he had been attempting to speak to a PSNI officer about the arrest.

Both Mr Kelly and the driver of the Land Rover in question received a formal reprimand.

The Police Federation slammed the officer's punishment as "unjustified".

Earlier this week Mr Kelly announced he was taking legal action against PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott over the incident.

Then, last night, he announced that he had withdrawn the action, claiming it "seems to have increased local political tension".

"There are a number of facts about the incident which I believe I should set out.

"The police Land Rover was at a standstill when I was remonstrating with the driver," he said.

"I took hold of the grille on the bonnet as the vehicle moved off and gathered speed.

"I believe the driver's actions were both unacceptable and dangerous, and this can be witnessed from the video released."

The North Belfast Assembly Member claimed that the incident was the latest "assault" on him by police since he was first elected in 1998.

"I took the case because this is the fourth assault on me by police since I first became an elected representative," he said.

"For the above reasons I took the case, because we have to move beyond this type of unacceptable policing," said Mr Kelly.

A PSNI spokeswoman last night said: "We do not comment on named individuals."

Belfast Telegraph

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