No charges for Garda filmed 'pepper-spraying homeless man'

A Garda watchdog investigation has cleared the force of any wrongdoing in the arrest of a homeless man in central Dublin.

The incident on busy shopping throughfare Henry Street on Friday March 13 was partly captured on camera by a student and went viral after being posted on the internet.

The controversy that followed, amid allegations of excessive force, led the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) to launch a special investigation in the public interest.

It found an account of the incident by the arresting officer was supported by CCTV footage, which showed the 34-year-old suspect trying to punch the garda and grabbing his pepper spray.

The garda denied using the incapacitant spray on the man after he was restrained by handcuffs and there was no CCTV footage to support such suggestions, the investigation found.

Attempts to enhance the uploaded video footage proved “inconclusive as to whether incapacitant spray had indeed been used by the garda when the man was handcuffed on the ground”, the report states.

The man was taken to Store Street Garda Station but there was no CCTV footage from there because of a technical issue, the Garda watchdog said.

“Insufficient evidence of either a criminal or disciplinary nature was established in the investigation,” it concluded.

“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.”

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