WATCH: UK Police Officer Filmed Punching a Handcuffed Mentally Ill Man in Face is Cleared of Using Excessive Force

7 December 2017

UK – A police officer filmed punching a handcuffed mental health suspect in the face has been cleared of using excessive force.

Footage of the shocking incident has been viewed almost 100,000 times since being posted on Facebook by a shocked onlooker in May.

It shows three Avon and Somerset officers holding down the detained man in a town centre as he clings onto one of their arms.

After repeatedly warning the man, who had been detained under the Mental Health Act, to let go of his arm the officer raises his left fist and punches him hard in the face.

The force said at the time it welcomed scrutiny because ‘the public rightly expects police officers to use force reasonably’.

They even took the unusual step of publishing their own bodycam footage the day after the incident – showing the same thing from a different angle.

An investigation by force’s own Professional Standards Department has now concluded that the level of force in delivering the single punch was ‘reasonable and proportionate’.

The Department added that said no official complaint was received and no-one had been injured in the incident in Yeovil, Somerset.

It took place in the town centre on May 31 when police were called to assist with a man who appeared to be suffering a mental health episode.

A force spokesman said: ‘We were called shortly before 5pm by the ambulance service regarding a man acting aggressively towards their staff.

‘It appeared the man was suffering from a mental health episode, so officers took the decision to detain him under the Mental Health Act.

‘This decision is always taken to safeguard the individual from harming themselves and others.’

As the man was held on the ground, one of the three officers at the scene was heard warning him to let go of his arm, and began counting down from five.

As he gets to three, a female officer can be heard saying, ‘Let go of his arm.’

Onlooker Luke Harris, who videoed the incident, can be heard saying: ‘Go on mate, punch him’, and shortly after, ‘Punch him in the face.’

When the officer did so, Mr Harris said: ‘Oh, that’s a bit naughty. That is definitely on video. That’s on Facebook, mate.’

Later posting the video on Facebook, Mr Harris wrote: ‘This guy was detained under the mental health act. Not a criminal.

‘Whilst three officers had him in cuffs, he was punched without being able to defend himself. I think this is wrong.’

The force said yesterday: ‘A full and thorough investigation has been conducted into the incident on Peter Street on May 31, 2017.

‘The incident was filmed and widely circulated on social media, and the investigation has determined the force used by the officer was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.

‘The man was detained under the Mental Health Act to safeguard him from harm and to protect the wider public.

‘The force did not receive any official complaint and no-one was injured during the detention.

‘Officers are increasingly called to deal with incidents in which people involved are experiencing a mental health crisis.

‘Our priorities are to ensure their safety and work with our partner agencies to make sure they get the specialist medical help they need.’

The man was taken to a mental health facility to receive treatment.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5156945/Cop-punched-mental-health-suspect-cleared.html#ixzz5E5D2nNQy

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 4756 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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