Belfast Telegraph

Sack 'Rambo' policeman, assault claim pastor says

By Patrice Dougan

A pastor has complained to the Police Ombudsman about the conduct of an officer who he claims behaved "like Rambo" and assaulted him.

Pastor Paul Burns, of the Adullam Christian Fellowship Church in Belfast's Sandy Row, has called for the police officer to be sacked over the incident which occurred this week.

He claimed the officer arrived at the scene of a minor situation with a mindset resembling that of the Sylvester Stallone movie character Rambo, causing it to escalate, as well as pushing the preacher numerous times and refusing to give his police number.

Police had been called to the Sandy Row area following a report of a youth attempting to break into a property.

Pastor Burns said the drunken teen had been calmed down and was being escorted into a police car when the officer in question arrived. "This car screeched right up and pulled in and out jumped two officers; one of them thought he was Jungle Jim or Rambo," he said.

"He started pushing everybody away. What followed was he grabbed the wee lad and really manhandled him.

"Then I said 'there's no need for this'.

"He then proceeded to push me away, and that got people angry.

"There was no tension in the area until he arrived."

Pastor Burns claimed the officer went on to push him three times in total, "full frontal, the way you do in a riot, in my stomach".

He claimed that the officer also refused to give his police number when asked.

"I have since been speaking to my solicitors and I intend to report this to the Police Ombudsman," said Pastor Burns.

"I'm calling for him to be sacked because that type of policing is gone now.

"We are not in a riot situation; we are not in the middle of the Troubles.

"This was being handled by police very well (until he arrived), but by the time he left the whole area was inflamed. This goes against everything I have worked for and community leaders on the ground have worked for - good community policing.

"The guy was a disgrace. He's a danger to policing and a danger to those trying to do good policing."

A police statement said: "A complaint was received by police in reference to an incident in the Sandy Row area.

"This incident has been referred to the Police Ombudsman's office.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further on this incident."

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