Boy, 15, claims he was knocked unconscious during altercation with officers

A file image of a man walking past the Garda Ombudsman's office

A complaint has been made to the Garda Ombudsman after a 15-year-old claimed he was knocked unconscious during an altercation with officers.

The 15-year-old, from Co Dublin, said he was cycling with his younger sister at 6pm on Sunday evening when he was stopped by gardaí.

The teenager, who says he suffers from asthma and wears a snood that covers the bottom half of his face when he is cycling, claims officers stopped him and questioned him about where he was going and what he was doing in the area.

The boy claims an altercation began when he was pulled from his bike and thrown to the ground in front of his sister.

But gardaí have said the teenager evaded the officers when they attempted to stop and search him as part of ongoing activities focused on crime reduction and anti-social behaviour. A spokesperson said officers had "observed him acting in a suspicious manner" and that he had tried to evade them.

"A struggle ensued as Gardaí attempted to detain the youth and two of the Gardaí sustained bite marks. Having detained the youth a large knife was discovered in his bag," the spokesperson said.

"The youth was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon and taken to Balbriggan Garda Station. He was later released without charge into the custody of his parents. The case will now be considered for inclusion under the Garda youth diversion programme. Of the two Gardaí who sustained bite marks during the incident, one has since been treated in A&E."

The boy said he did have a knife in his backpack, which he says he keeps there for cutting fruit, but claimed gardaí could not have known about it until after they had tackled him to the ground.

Speaking from his home, alongside his mother, the boy said this is his first experience with gardaí and he has been left shaken.

"When they asked me why I wear the cycling mask, and where I was going and why I wasn't going home, when I answered, one got out of the car and pulled me off my bike," he told the Press Association.

"When I was on the floor and they'd cuffed me, the guard was kneeling on my chest and I passed out. When I came around he was still on me, and I couldn't breathe and I passed out a second time. I have a few scratches, my back and ribs are sore, and I've bruises on my face."

The boy was taken to hospital on Monday for treatment after complaining of chest pains throughout the night after the incident.

The boy's sister said her family have been left shaken and terrified by the ordeal.

"I was at home when I heard my younger sister screaming, when I ran out there were gardaí pinning my brother down and he was screaming and crying," she said. "A few of our neighbours came out and were explaining to the officers that he was just 15, but they didn't care.

"I actually thought he was dead when he passed out. It was such unnecessary force, to then tackle me as well, and took my phone from me. It was terrifying.

"When he took his snood off, it would've been clear he was a kid, so I've filed a complaint with the Ombudsman."

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