The student protester Jody McIntyre (pictured) reacted angrily after the Metropolitan police rejected complaints that hitting him with a baton and pulling him from a wheelchair amounted to assault and brutality.
Scotland Yard's directorate of professional standards (DPS) said an internal investigation into McIntyre's allegations had rejected his complaints arising from the anti fees demonstration last December. The DPS found that pulling McIntyre from his wheelchair had been done for his own safety in a "volatile, dangerous situation during violent clashes" at the student demonstration.
McIntyre questioned a complaints system which allowed the Met to investigate itself and said he may lodge an appeal with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Footage of him being tipped out of his wheelchair and pulled across a road was broadcast across social media websites and on national news programmes hours after the incident.
McIntyre told the Guardian: "This decision confirms the corruption and complete ineptitude within the Metropolitan police. Firstly we should be asking ourselves why they investigate themselves? And secondly for them to say there no evidence to support my complaints of assault when there was video evidence viewed by hundreds of thousands of people is laughable. What more evidence to you need?"
The DPS inquiry was supervised by the IPCC, which decided not to launch its own investigation. Acting Commander Carl Bussey, head of the DPS said: "The allegations made by Jody McIntyre were extremely concerning and we have carried out a very thorough investigation under the supervision of the IPCC to establish the facts. The investigation did not find evidence to substantiate any of the complaints and given how damaging these allegations were to the reputation of the MPS and relationship with both protesters and London's disabled community, it is only right that we report back."
The Met acknowledged that "there is evidence that Jody McIntyre was inadvertently struck with a police baton." But the inquiry found this was "justifiable and lawful" because of the "volatile and dangerous situation." "The investigation has found that violent disorder was occurring at the location where Jody McIntyre was positioned," the DPS found.
"At this location officers were under sustained attack and were required to use force to protect themselves, whilst attempting to control the disorder."
The DPS said McIntyre had been tipped out of his wheelchair and pulled across the road for his own safety. The Met said the directorate of professional standards had taken advice from the the force's disability independent advisory group, who have written guidance on the most appropriate way to remove an individual from a wheelchair should it be necessary to do so.
"His removal from his wheelchair was also justifiable given the officers' perceived risk to Jody McIntyre," the Met said.
McIntyre's complaint that he suffered discrimination on the basis of his disability was also rejected.
He was particularly angered by the Met's suggestion that they had pulled him from his wheelchair for his own safety.
"Not only is that incorrect, in the sense that you do not insure a disabled person's safety by pulling them out of their means of transport, but also it is highly patronising to suggest that you know better than a disabled person what is in their best interests," he said.
"I have faced this kind of discrimination in my life for many years but it's quite disgusting to see it coming from the police." The IPCC said it could not endorse the Met's findings and if McIntyre was unhappy with the investigation he could appeal to the IPCC within 28 days.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
The Guardian in the UK:
Posted by BA Haller at 11:07 AM