Belfast Telegraph

Misconduct sanction for officer who kicked man during arrest

A police officer has been disciplined after a Police Ombudsman investigation found he had used "excessive and unjustified" force when he kicked a man in Belfast.

The officer called at the man's flat in the early morning in July 2015.

He was with colleagues to arrest the man for failing to turn up for a court hearing.

After officers forced entry the man admitted he was verbally abusive towards the officers, but denied offering any physical resistance.

He was handcuffed and taken to wait on an elevator.

He claimed that when the lift arrived, one of the officers kicked him on the side.

A Police Ombudsman investigator obtained CCTV footage from the flat complex which confirmed the officer had kicked the man, albeit not viciously.

The Ombudsman investigator said: "Police officers were standing in front of the man throughout the incident, but none made any movements to avoid or prevent being spat upon.

"The demeanour of the officer who aimed the kick was also relaxed, and at odds with his description of reacting to a threat."

In addition, inquiries were made with the PSNI's training department, which confirmed that if there had been a threat of spitting, the use of a kick was "a poor tactical decision".

The other three officers denied having seen the kick.

The Police Ombudsman investigator said: "I am satisfied that the man posed no immediate threat to the officers.

"It was not a vicious kick, but it was nonetheless unjustified and an excessive use of force."

A file was sent to the Public Prosecution Service, which directed that the officer should not be prosecuted.

However, the investigator considered the lower evidential threshold for disciplinary action had been reached and recommended that the officer should be disciplined for using excessive force.

The PSNI has since implemented the recommendation and the officer received an appropriate misconduct sanction.

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