Police Ombudsman rejects man’s claims of being "racially abused" and assaulted

Incident Date: Jun 2017

Allegations that a Scottish man was punched, "racially abused" and denied food and drink by police officers in Belfast have been rejected following an investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

The man claimed he had been racially abused “for being Scottish” and punched on the jaw in the rear of a police car after being arrested for disorderly behaviour in north Belfast in June last year.

He also alleged that his arm had been bent by a male member of police staff as he was being placed in a cell at a custody suite, and claimed he had been deprived of food and drink during his time in custody.

A Police Ombudsman investigator obtained accounts from the officers who were in the police car when the man claimed to have been attacked. They denied the allegations and said the man had been extremely aggressive and abusive towards anyone he came in contact with.

Doctor recalled that the man was "intoxicated, verbally abusive and non co-operative"

A police doctor also recalled that the complainant had been “intoxicated, verbally abusive and non co-operative.”

The doctor made no record of any injuries to the man’s jaw. There was no record that he had told either the doctor or the custody sergeant that he had been punched.

Further enquiries revealed that the man had been taken to a cell by a female civilian detention officer, which contradicted his account of a male officer bending his arm.

Custody records also stated that after being placed in his cell, the man kicked and banged the door for some time before falling asleep. He was recorded as having been offered food and drink after waking, but refused both, although the records indicated that he had later accepted a glass of water.

The Police Ombudsman investigator noted: “The man’s account was at odds with police records and the recollections of everyone who dealt with him following his arrest. I did not substantiate any element of his complaint.”

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