Ormeau parade: DUP councillor shared image of police officer and branded PSNI officers 'bootboys' over Junior Orange Order Parade
The DUP have distanced themselves from a Ballymena councillor after he shared the image of a police officer being blamed by loyalists for using CS spray at the Junior Orange Order Parade and branded the PSNI "bootboys".
A bitter row has erupted after disturbances broke out on Belfast's Ormeau Road at a band parade on Tuesday evening.
Two PSNI officers were injured as a result of the disorder.
Community representatives claimed children as young as five were affected by the use of CS spray.
A senior officer said the matter could have been avoided had bandsmen "followed police directions".
Police have charged a 26-year-old man with two counts of assault on police and disorderly behaviour.
Police have said they "deeply regret" any child or young person who was affected by CS spray used to help protect officers under attack during disorder at an Orange Order parade.
Meanwhile the Police Federation has slammed what it called "a campaign of vilification" around an officer being blamed by loyalists for using CS spray at the Ormeau Road parade.
The officer has had his picture put out on social media and has also had his name and address posted online.
Among those who shared the image was DUP councillor for Ballymena John Carson.
He also posted a status calling the PSNI "bootboys".
He said: "Time for an explanation George, either that or go and take your bootboys with you see if Gerry + (sic) co will shelter you then".
A DUP spokesman said: "We do not believe it is appropriate to describe PSNI officers as boot boys or to share any image which could identify an officer.
"Where there are legitimate grievances they should be dealt with through the normal complaints process of the Police Ombudsman’s office."
Mr Carson has been contacted for comment.
Belfast Telegraph Digital