Internet users have expressed their “shock” after a video emerged that is said to show an Irish gardai (police officer) restrain a handcuffed homeless by treading on his leg in Dublin’s city centre last week.
The footage, which was taken last Friday by student Philip Campion as he returned home from college, seems to show the gardai officer standing on the unnamed man’s leg as he lies handcuffed in the doorway of a shop on Henry Street.
The clip begins with the gardai officer apparently trying to move the “homeless man” away from the shop’s front. After a short conversation, the policeman, is said by an eye-witness to have used a can of pepper-spray on the man as he lies on the floor.
With the “homeless man” still on the floor, the policeman then appears to stand on his leg despite complaints by onlookers.
A Gardai spokesperson said that the video has “yet to be verified” and they do not think the video shows anyone using pepper spray at all.
It had also not been confirmed whether the man was actually homeless.
After capturing the incident on film, Campion uploaded onto his Facebook page where it has been shared nearly 8,000 times.
Commenting underneath the video, Campion called the incident absolutely “outrageous behaviour by the garda” and said the homeless man was “treated like an animal”.
He wrote: “He pushed him against the floor and pepper-sprayed him in the eyes when the poor man was clearly not making any sort of an attack or movement towards the garda.
“He then stood there with his leg on the man as if the man was going to run somewhere. This is the sort of thing that really p***es me off.”
He told The Independent: "I have great respect for the Gardai but do not have respect for the actions that I witnessed. Something has to be done about the homeless in Ireland and not just talk. The day we dehumanize humans, like I witnessed, because of their circumstance, is the day civilization dies."
According to Campion, there was “25 to 30” people that witnessed the incident, who he claims were repeatedly told by the police officer to go away “for their own safety”.
The video quickly went viral after it was posted on Saturday, with just under 400,000 people viewing it so far on Facebook.
Many of the comments have been outraged by the apparent action of the policeman describing the incident as “disgusting” and “disgraceful”, with some calling for the garda officer to be “disciplined”.
Others have said that judgement shouldn’t be passed on the officer until we know “the full story.”
Speaking to The Independent, a Gardai spokesman urged any witnesses to contact the Gardai Ombudsman.Reuse content