Disabled campaigners’ complaint partially upheld
Compiled from various sources
published: 4WardEver UK – February 2012
Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
Jody McIntyre, a disabled man attending a protest against student cuts, said he was tipped out of his chair and dragged across a road on 9 December 2010, and was hit with a baton.
Initially a police probe found officers were right to remove him from the wheelchair based on the “perceived risk” to him, while the baton hit was “inadvertent”. The Met’s probe was supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but Mr McIntyre asked: “Why are the police investigating themselves”, and vowed to appeal against the “shockingly poor” findings.
“Any person with any ounce of logic or morality in their brain would be able to quite easily work out that the best way to move a disabled person is not by pushing them out of their wheelchair,” he said.
In August 2011 the police complaints watchdog (The Independent Police Complaints Commission) partially upheld a complaint. Alarmingly the IPCC concluded; ‘Mr McIntyre might have been assaulted by an officer using excessive force, but it was too late to prosecute.’ This was because a six-month legal deadline had expired.
Instead they recommended “management action”, rather than more serious disciplinary proceedings, against the officer who had dragged Mr McIntyre across the road. They went on to say Scotland Yard was wrong not to recommend criminal charges against the officer.
However, the IPCC said that given the circumstances it had been “appropriate” for the officer to remove McIntyre from his wheelchair as violent battles raged around Parliament Square.
Mr McIntyre said the IPCC report showed he had been mistreated but he could not understand why the watchdog had not criticised his removal from his wheelchair.
“This is clearly a very strange interpretation on the part of the IPCC and certainly not an interpretation that I agree with,” he said.
“What they are essentially saying is that the police officer was right to push me out of my wheelchair but then wrong to drag me across the road. It doesn’t make any sense to any rationally minded person.”
In a statement about the report the watchdog said: “The IPCC has concluded that, when an officer dragged Mr McIntyre along the ground, towards the end of the incident, this did amount to excessive force. A criminal offence of common assault may have been committed and the matter should therefore have been referred to the CPS.”
The statement added that the “officer’s behaviour has fallen below the standards of professional behaviour and should be subject to management action. We have suggested that an apology would be an appropriate way of dealing with this particular part of the incident.”
McIntyre said he was considering further legal action, including possible civil litigation against the officer who dragged him.
His solicitor, Michael Oswald, added: “The conclusions of the IPCC have vindicated the serious concerns held by Mr McIntyre with regard to the quality of the investigation that was conducted by the Metropolitan police service into their officers’ treatment of him.
“We look now to the Metropolitan police service to acknowledge the failings of the officers who came into contact with Mr McIntyre on 9 December 2010 as well as those who failed properly to discharge their duty to investigate those initial events.”
A video showing a police officer dragging a disabled man across a road after he had been tipped out of his chair during the student protests sparked outrage. He was seen being pulled across the street to the fury of the watching crowd outside Parliament who can be heard shouting ‘scum’.
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