Thursday 21 November 2019

Garda watchdog launches inquiry into alleged pepper spray attack on 'homeless' man

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis
Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis

Ed Carty

The Garda watchdog has launched an inquiry into the alleged use of pepper spray on a homeless man as he was being arrested on a busy shopping street in Dublin.

The incident occurred last Friday afternoon as a male garda tried to restrain a man in a sleeping bag outside a shop front.

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission confirmed it had begun an investigation in the public interest and revealed its decision was influenced by the "level of public disquiet generated".

"This decision is based on the information to hand from the Garda Siochana and the media," the watchdog said.

The incident took place at about 3.30pm and was captured, in part, on a camera phone by a student.

The one minute clip is said to show the garda stand on the man's leg as he tries to restrain him while handcuffed.

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis called for an ombudsman investigation.

The independent inquiry will run alongside an internal investigation after a superintendent from outside the Store Street district was asked to examine events around the arrest.

It is understood investigations aim to establish if there was a bench warrant for the man and whether pepper spray had been taken from the garda as he attempted an arrest and whether it was used against the man after he had been restrained on the ground.

PA Media

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