SF call for suspension of PSNI officer after man struck by police baton

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

Sinn Fein has called for the suspension from duty of a police officer after a young man was struck on the head by a baton in Lurgan.

The 28-year-old suffered serious head injuries in a disturbance in William St in the early hours of Monday morning and remains seriously ill in Intensive Care at Craigavon Hospital.

There has been claim and counter claim with the police saying they were dealing with a large aggressive crowd when batons were used by officers.

The Police Ombudsman’s office is probing the incident.

Mr O’Dowd called for the officer’s suspension after meeting with District Commander, Superintendent David Moore, describing the incident as ‘the most serious and shocking incident involving police’.

With local Sinn Fein Cllr Keith Haughian, the pair voiced their concern over the incident.

Mr O’Dowd said: “I told Superintendent David Moore that this was the most serious and shocking incident involving police I have dealt with in this last 15 years.

“If it hadn’t been for the swift actions of the victim’s friends, in bringing him to hospital, we might have been dealing with a death.

“Eyewitness have claimed that, the young man struck by the police officer, was posing no threat to police or anyone else and that he was struck from behind on the head and then struck again while on the ground.

“It’s my view that the police have misled the public by stating in a public statement that they were dealing with a ‘large aggressive crowd’ when the young man was struck.

“They were not dealing with an aggressive crowd at the time the young man was struck.

“The crowd became agitated after the young man was assaulted.

“There are also serious questions to be answered by the police as to how they allowed a seriously injured man, who was at one stage unconscious, to leave the scene without receiving first aid and being placed in an ambulance.

“The question remains - why was it left to friends to bring him to hospital where he required an emergency intervention to save his life.

Mr O’ Dowd said; “The Police and the Police Ombudsman must act quickly and suspend the officer responsible for the terrible injuries inflicted on this young man.

“They must conduct an investigation into his actions and a thorough investigation into how police dealt with incident and its aftermath.”