Politicians to meet top police officers after man suffered head injuries in disturbance

William St Lurgan  Photo by Google
William St Lurgan Photo by Google

Politicians are to meet with top police officers today to discuss an incident where a young man suffered serious head injuries in Lurgan.

Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP are to meet with senior PSNI officers after the 28-year-old was allegedly hit by a police baton during a disturbance in William Street.

It is understood the young man remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital where he had previously been in an induced coma.

Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd and Councillor Keith Haughian said they are meeting the police to express the community’s anger and concern surrounding the incident.

John O’Dowd said: “We will be meeting the PSNI to express the anger and frustration of the local community surrounding the incident in William St.

“Eyewitnesses claim the young man was struck by a baton.

“We will also be seeking assurances that the tactics used on Sunday will not be used again.

“An investigation into the incident is underway and I would encourage anyone with information to bring it forward to the Police Ombudsman’s office as a matter of urgency.”

Meanwhile SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said: “I understand this incident is now the subject of a Police Ombudsman’s investigation and I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward.

“My colleagues and I are seeking a meeting with the District Commander to discuss this incident and policing operations around our night time economy.

“I hope this young man makes a full and speedy recovery.”

A spokesperson for the Police Ombudsman said: “We have been notified by the PSNI of an incident in Lurgan in the early hours of Monday morning in which batons were used by officers and a male sustained a head injury.

“We are currently conducting preliminary enquiries.”

The PSNI said on Monday: “As phone footage circulating online shows, a large crowd was present and, whilst breaking up the large brawl, three males were arrested.

“This involved a large aggressive crowd, batons were used by our officers and a male received a head injury. The male is now conscious and communicative, receiving hospital treatment.

“We took the step of notifying the Ombudsman ourselves and a full investigation from their end will begin upon receipt of a complaint.

“Whilst incidents such as these often receive a surge of online attention and side line commentary, it is important to remember that speculation and short clips of the aftermath of an incident do not show anywhere near the full picture.

“Our own body worn camera footage from several officers of the whole incident is available for the Ombudsman to view, and we would urge anyone with footage of their own, or who witnessed the whole incident, to contact us on 101.”

“The reference number is 8 of 04/06/18. This will assist both any Ombudsman investigation that may take place, as well as our own to ascertain if other suspects remain unaccounted for.”

On Monday Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd welcomed the Police Ombudsman’s Office investigation into an incident.

He said: “Eye witnesses claim the young man was struck with a police baton. Then struck again as he lay on the ground.

“There is significant concern amongst the community regarding this incident.

“At this stage a number of witness statements have been recorded and I would call on anyone who witnessed the incident, including those who have video footage, to bring this forward to the ombudsman’s office as a matter of urgency.

“It is vitally important that the ombudsman’s office sees all evidence, carries out a thorough investigation and delivers the truth behind the events which led to this young man’s terrible injuries.

“If officers did strike this young man they should be suspended from duty until all facts are known.”