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Saturday, Aug 08, 2020

Man shouts 'I can't breathe' as he's pinned down by three police officers

Man shouts 'I can't breathe' as he's pinned down by three police officers

Police are reviewing footage of officers holding down a man who repeatedly shouts ‘I can’t breathe’ for potential further investigation.
A clip shared on social media shows three officers restraining the 28-year-old on the ground in a street in Brighton while he complains one of them is putting pressure on his neck.

Sussex Police claim he refused police entry to his address on Tuesday while officers were looking for a missing 17-year-old girl and that he became aggressive.

The force says it is looking at the clip and officers’ bodycam footage of the incident and intends to refer itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for further scrutiny.

Media reports and a statement by Brighton’s police chief previously stated incorrectly that the matter had already been referred to the IOPC.

In the video the arrested man can be heard saying: ‘Why have you got your arm on my neck? Bro, I can’t breathe.’

An officer replies saying his arm is on his collarbone, which the detainee disputes, accusing him of ‘crushing his Adam’s apple’.

The 28-year-old continues to accuse the officer of shooting him in the face with a Taser, headbutting him and giving him a black eye, although a few seconds later he states ‘this guy was going to shoot me with a Taser for no reason’.

A woman who claims she witnessed the man being ‘tackled’ to the ground described the incident as ‘intense’.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘I have seen people be arrested before, I have never seen anything like that. It was really, really shocking.

‘I do not understand why there were three policemen sat on him.’

In a statement, Sussex Police said: “Police officers searching for a vulnerable missing teenager attended an address in Montpelier Road in Brighton at 10.15am on Tuesday 7 July.

‘A resident of the address, a 28-year-old man, refused police entry and was arrested.

‘Police subsequently found the missing 17-year-old young woman hiding at the property and returned them safely home.

‘Once under arrest, the man became aggressive towards officers and was handcuffed and placed on the ground before being transported to custody.

‘We train our officers to protect themselves and others using reasonable force and are reviewing this footage, together with body-worn video captured by the officers of the entire interaction, to identify if any further investigation or learning is required.’

‘We are reviewing these incidents, including body worn video footage captured at the scene, to identify if any further investigation or learning is required.

‘We have voluntarily advised the Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) that we intend to refer the most recent matter to them for additional scrutiny.’

Brighton and Hove’s policing commander, Chief Superintendent Nick May, added: ‘We understand that some people may find these videos shocking but it is important for people to understand the wider context.

‘Both videos show a small part of much longer interactions.’

The IOPC confirmed the footage has yet to be formally referred to investigators but that it is advising the force on the matter.

A spokesperson for the watchdog said: ‘We are aware of this matter and are making further inquiries with Sussex Police.

‘We will then be in a position to make an informed decision on the level of IOPC involvement.’
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