Garda actions towards homeless man ‘justified’

A Garda Ombudsman report into the filmed arrest of a homeless man by a garda last March found the force used appeared to be “justified, lawful and proportionate”.

Part of the arrest was caught on video by a passing student and uploaded onto his Facebook page. It subsequently went viral, with more than 500,000 hits. The incident, which occurred on March 13 at Henry Street, Dublin, sparked considerable unrest and criticism of the garda concerned, who was clearly visible.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission launched a public interest investigation on March 18 after 17 public queries.

It found “insufficient evidence” of either a criminal or disciplinary nature.

“It appears that any force used by the garda concerned in this incident was justified, lawful and proportionate under the circumstances and no more than absolutely necessary,” it said.

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The garda told investigators he feared the man was going to assault him and used his incapacitant spray on him twice.

“The account provided by the garda was supported by CCTV, which did indeed show the man reaching out and grabbing the incapacitant spray and making an effort to punch the garda,” the report said.

It said video footage was “inconclusive” as to whether the spray was used on the man while handcuffed.


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