Police cleared after punching stab victim

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The Independent Online

Three police officers who were filmed on CCTV punching a stab victim have been cleared of any wrongdoing by their force and told they will face no criminal charges.

The Merseyside Police officers were filmed apparently beating Darren Grace, 31, who was found wandering in Liverpool's Stanley Park with a knife wound to his head last August.

But after an internal investigation by Merseyside Police's Professional Standards Department, the officers have been told they acted "lawfully and proportionately in self-defence". That decision was backed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which confirmed it would not be seeking prosecutions.

Chief Superintendent Jon Ward, of Merseyside Police, explained that the officers were assaulted by Mr Grace when they attempted to help him and had struck out only in self-defence. He added: "It is clear that the officers approached Mr Grace with the sole intention of administering first aid. However, Mr Grace became violent and assaulted the officers by repeatedly pinching and biting their legs.

"The officers used reasonable force to prevent Mr Grace from further injuring them and himself, while acting in self-defence."

In the video, one officer in particular is seen to punch Mr Grace in the head repeatedly.

A spokesman for the CPS said the officer was acting in self-defence having been bitten by Mr Grace.

The spokesman added: "Having viewed the CCTV footage in detail and considered all the witness accounts, the [CPS] lawyer has concluded that the prosecution would not be able to prove to the necessary standard that this officer had not acted in self-defence at the time."

Mr Grace made a complaint to Merseyside Police about the incident although he said he had no recollection of the events.

He was written to on Friday and told he has 28 days to appeal against the outcome of the investigation.