CLEVELAND Police chiefs have moved to defend CCTV footage put online showing officers kneeing and punching a man as they arrest him.
The video went viral online and attracted criticism from viewers of the YouTube clip.
The footage, from Thursday, August 1, shows the aftermath of an incident in which the arrested man had head-butted police officers responding to reports of a man being drunk and disorderly on Stockton High Street.
He is forcibly restrained before being put into a police van, with one officer kneeing the man several times in the back while he is on the floor.
Another officers punches him repeatedly.
A woman at the scene is also restrained by police officers.
The man pleaded guilty at court to two counts of assaulting a constable in the execution of his or her duty and possession of cannabis. He was given a 12 month community order with supervision, a four week curfew, costs and compensation to police.
The video footage has been viewed by the force’s Professional Standards Department, who were satisfied that the officers acted in accordance with legislation and their training.
A statement by the force said: “A male police officer arrived at the scene and was head-butted by the man and left injured on the floor. A female police officer attempted to handcuff the man, when she was kicked and head-butted.
“Other officers at the scene attempted to restrain him so that he could be handcuffed and taken safely into police custody. Officers have said that the man was trying to bite them and was digging his nails into their arms whilst they were attempting to handcuff him.
“In this case officers have used hands on tactics that are trained and recognised, they have not resorted to other tactics such as taser or baton strike which can be seen to be higher on the use of force continuum.
“Controlling the arms and head of a violent person is not easy particularly when they are in a heightened state and have just assaulted someone.
“Punches to the muscle group in the arm in order to “deaden” it and thus allow it to be moved to the rear are appropriate when encountering resistance from the arms. Once the man’s arms are secured he was then put into the back of a van safely, reducing the possibility of injury to him or others.”
A Cleveland Police spokesperson added: “Officers operating in Stockton Town Centre know they are on CCTV and value the evidence gathering and support it gives them, they often direct where the cameras should point via the police radio link into the CCTV control room.
“Officers deal with extremely violent individuals on a daily basis who could be under the influence of drink or drugs, which also has a part to play in increasing the offender’s mindset and strength.
“There is a danger that this footage could be taken out of context on first viewing, but it is important to view it with full knowledge of the facts.”
See the video by clicking here