Police officers who hit man with baton in viral video used 'reasonable force', watchdog finds

'We found no indication that any person serving with the police may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings' 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Wednesday 09 May 2018 18:30
Plainclothes police officers hit man with batons during arrest in Birmingham

A watchdog has found that police officers who beat a man who was “reluctant to move” with a baton and pinned him to the ground, used reasonable force.

Plain-clothed West Midlands Police officers who had searched a van and found cannabis inside, were filmed as they detained the driver and passenger in Birmingham late last July.

Bystanders were told to move back before a man can be seen arguing with one of the officers, who physically pushed him away from the scene as other onlookers step in.

The struggling man was then dragged to the ground by two officers who used incapacitant spray and hit him with a baton, before handcuffing him.

One person who filmed the altercation can be heard shouting: “You escalated the situation, it was calm. You’ve kicked his leg and now you’re causing tension. You guys are police officers.”

West Midlands Police said a 20-year-old man was arrested for a public order offence and released under investigation, while a 28-year-old man was cautioned for cannabis possession.

Video of the incident went viral on social media and was viewed more than 200,000 times on Twitter.

Campaign group Netpol accused officers of “starting a fight with Asian locals”.

As allegations of police brutality were made after the footage circulated online, the force referred the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and temporarily moved the three constables involved to back-room tasks.

After concluding its investigation, the IOPC confirmed that the man was kicked in the leg by an officer, sprayed by incapacitant spray, stuck several times with a baton, taken to the ground and handcuffed.

“A man who had been watching the police incident appeared to be reluctant to move when asked to do so by officers and a verbal altercation ensued,” the watchdog said. “It is alleged that the man made several offensive remarks to the officers prior to his arrest.”

Officials interviewed the officers involved in the incident and tried to make contact with the man restrained but said he failed to respond, leaving them to examine mobile phone footage and police policies.

“Based on the evidence available, our opinion was that the force used by the officers was necessary, proportionate and reasonable throughout the situation,” the IOPC concluded. “We found no indication that any person serving with the police may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings.”

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