Cop force ‘reasonable’ to stop man eating drugs

| 27/07/2021 | 10 Comments

(CNS) The Office of the Ombudsman has found that the level of force used by police officers on a man who was taken to hospital following his arrest, during which he was grabbed by the throat, was not unreasonable. The suspect filed a complaint about the force officers used during his arrest but Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston dismissed that complaint because, she said, it was reasonable given that he was about to eat an undisclosed amount of cocaine. Medical staff at the hospital also confirmed that he had no serious injuries.

Nevertheless, the man said he was injured when he was grabbed by the throat, thrown onto a bed in his home and handcuffed by officers who were in the process of executing a search warrant. The police claimed they acted to prevent the suspect, who continued to resist officers, from swallowing the drugs.

Section 153 of the Police Act allows an officer to use as much force as is reasonably necessary to effect an arrest, the ombudsman’s office stated in a press release after the complaint was dismissed.

“An officer must have regard to the nature and gravity of the threat, as well as the potential for adverse consequences resulting from the use of force. In this case, it took a considerable amount of effort from RCIPS officers to restrain the complainant to prevent him from swallowing the substance and the Ombudsman found it was reasonable for the officers to believe the complainant would have done so, if not impeded,” the office stated in a release.

The ombudsman accepted the officers’ statements claiming that they “were concerned about the complainant’s health and safety” as he tried to swallow what they suspected at the time was, and turned out to be, cocaine. The office concluded that the force used was necessary and reasonable in these circumstances.

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Category: Crime, Police

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So, this is one of the complaints received. At least people can see some of the stupidity officers deal with.

    Sticking fingers into someone’s mouth isn’t a pleasant or safe thing to do. Well done to the police and ombudsman here.

    The point about drugs is moot. No matter your personal opinion, the drug is illegal, and the supply chain causes misery to millions in countries like Mexico and Honduras.

  2. Anon says:

    Alternatively there could have been a complaint that
    The officers watched him swallow the drugs and did nothing
    Then watched him slowly die.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It seems to me that failing to obey officers executing a search warrant and attempting to dispose of evidence are reasons enough for considerable force to be used, even more than what was described. But apparently these days you need to have a feel-good fairy story at the ready just in case.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oooh drugs. Let me know when sugar and fast fatty food is banned.

    • SSM345 says:

      Cigarettes and Alcohol dont seem to be a problem going down peoples throats…


  5. Anonymous says:

    Fact; Cops most likely saved his life by preventing him from swallowing the coke, for whatever reason…ingesting even small amounts of coke can kill.

    Speculation from RCIPS experience: Officers were not necessarily trying to save his life, they were more interested in protecting their evidence and manhandling him to do so..

    Fallback: Play hero and push the life-saving narrative.

    Caveat: If they were genuinely trying to save his life, good for them!

  6. anon says:

    Add 6 months to his sentence.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sensible decision by all involved (except the man trying to swallow the cocaine!)

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