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PSNI accused of heavy-handed and wrongful arrest

14 May, 2007


Ógra Shinn Féin has accused the PSNI of harassment of its members after an Ógra activist in Strabane was arrested late on Friday night.
The Republican Youth organisation has claimed that uniformed members of the PSNI harassed a well know member on his way home from a night out.
Speaking about the incident the youth, who does not wish to be identified said: "I was walking home from a night out, I wasn't far from my house when a PSNI land rover pulled up beside me, all the PSNI members jumped out and surrounded me. I was then pinned up to a wall while two officers forcibly searched me. My mobile phone was removed from my pocket, and one of the officers proceeded to read through my text messages, and looking at my pictures and contacts. They had claimed that they stopped me because I was observed taking photos of them, this is untrue as I had no camera with me, and the camera on my phone doesn't work. I asked the officers for my phone back numerous times, each time being met with a wall of abuse. I advised the officers that I had done nothing wrong and that I had nothing hide. They refused to accept this, still holding me against the wall. When I asked again for my phone back a police officer stepped forward and advised me that I was being disorderly and that I could be arrested, I told him I knew my rights and that I had done nothing wrong. With that said I was then lifted and threw into the back of the land rover resulting in numerous facial injuries."
John McDermott, spokesperson for Ógra Shinn Féin An Srath Ban has slammed the PSNI for their actions over the weekend. He stated "The actions of the PSNI over the weekend were totally unacceptable and deplorable; we had thought this sort of heavy handed tactics were embedded firmly in the past. Is this the policing service that a community not only wants, but needs? I think not. We require a police service that are representative of the community, a service that will act with the communities best interests at heart, these actions we witnessed over the weekend do not tick any of those boxes. The PSNI have to gain the respect of the community. We as Irish republicans and nationalists, deserve and require and accountable police service. What we have experienced throughout our history has been a political, sectarian and partisan police force, we need to change this. We need to see that policing with the community was achieved as the core function of the PSNI."He continued "We have made a complaint to the ombudsman's office. We need to ensure that the PSNI are accountable. The PSNI have a lot of work to do." ENDS

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