A garda has been suspended following an incident involving a 14-year-old boy who was left with facial injuries in the aftermath of his arrest and detention for driving a scrambler motorbike in north Dublin.
The circumstances of the teen’s arrest, which was recorded and later went viral in an online video, are being investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc).
The boy’s arrest took place in the Deanstown housing estate in Finglas shortly before 8pm last Saturday.
His mother told the Sunday Independent this weekend that her son suffered facial injuries and concussion during his arrest.
Janet McElligott also said her teenage son was “spat at in the face” by one of the four arresting gardaí and has “since tested positive for Covid”.
She said the boy was “wrong” to be driving his scrambler around the residential Finglas area, and she had no issue with gardaí taking him into custody for this offence.
“It is part of their job to arrest people for wrongdoing. My son has a scrambler bike. He is usually taken out with his father to use it somewhere safely under supervision. We didn’t know he took it out last Saturday,” she said.
“I have no issue with gardaí arresting him for doing this. He would have been punished by us also, but it’s what happened during his arrest that is the problem.”
Phelim O’Neill, the solicitor representing the family of George Nkencho, who was shot dead following a stand-off in west Dublin with gardaí last January, is representing the McElligott family.
“My son has never been in trouble before. I just want some accountability about what happened to him,” said his mother.
On Thursday, a protest took place outside Finglas garda station over what protesters say was the use of excessive force by gardaí during the course of the teenager’s arrest.
Members of An Garda Síochána are allowed to use force at times during their duties, including when making arrests, but it must be proportionate. The garda watchdog inquiry is now examining the incident.
The footage shows the teenager being tackled to the ground by gardaí and then handcuffed. The matter was referred to Gsoc by a senior garda officer under provisions in the Garda Síochána Act that allow for the “independent investigation of any matter that appears to indicate that the conduct of a member of An Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person”.
An Garda Síochána confirmed the incident, saying officers in Finglas had “interacted with a motorcycle which failed to stop”, resulting in the arrest of a male teenager on Deanstown Avenue.