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Guardian Obtains Footage Of Police Officer Firing Taser At Naked Man

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http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/30/guardian-footage-police-taser-naked-man-lee-birch

The Guardian has obtained CCTV footage showing a police officer firing a Taser at a naked man in a cell.

A chief constable tried to prevent the release of footage showing the Wiltshire constable Lee Birch shooting the Taser at 23-year-old Daniel Dove – despite a court agreeing it could be published.

The Guardian obtained the footage from another source.

It shows Dove, who had been arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, being subjected to a strip search in a custody suite.

He pulls off his boxer shorts and flicks them at Birch. The officer takes a Taser he had held behind his back and fires it at Dove's chest. The young man falls on to a mat that had been placed on the floor of the cell.

A crown court jury on Tuesday cleared Birch of assault causing actual bodily harm and misconduct in a public office. Charges were subsequently dropped against Dove.

..

In the custody suite at Melksham, Dove was told to strip. He removed his wet boxer shorts and flicked them, striking Birch on the side of his face.

Dove told the jury: "As soon as I flicked my pants at him, he pulled his arm up from behind his back and shot me with a Taser. I had no time to react or move. I couldn't hide anywhere. I was in a police station so couldn't run off. There was a lot of pain."

Asked to explain why he fired the Taser, Birch said: "I am not saying what he did was particularly life-threatening, but it was an indication that he was still intent on carrying out assaults. I felt he would continue to assault either myself or one of my colleagues if I didn't use that device upon him."

Birch added: "He was now naked and was soaking wet and I would not wish to restrain a naked man. There was nothing to grab hold of – there's no clothing to grab. For the safety of myself and the others I drew my Taser."

The prosecution argued that the use of the Taser went beyond "reasonable force" as Birch was with two officers and other colleagues were just metres away. But the jury acquitted him.

Ah yes flicking your underpants is a clear threat he's about to assualt you.

I wonder what else was said in defence which the jury accepted.

Watching the video it seems a complete over reaction from the police officer.

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If someone did that to me and I had a taser in my hand, I think I'd let him have it. ;)

Rather my thought, particularly as I assume they were wet with urine.

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People do not understand the meaning of the world 'assault' as opposed to 'battery' or 'injury'. Assault is placing someone in fear of being injured.

I don't think he was in fear of being injured - he was just understandably miffed to be slapped around the face with a pair of pissy underpants.

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I don't think he was in fear of being injured - he was just understandably miffed to be slapped around the face with a pair of pissy underpants.

Also he had been assaulted by the drunk earlier on whilst arresting him.

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I reckon anyone with a concern about preventing authoritarianism should care. It rarely happens overnight and is often a slow drip-drip of examples and measures. We have a collective duty to remind our police officers from time to time that they are because of our collective permission not merely as instruments of state control.

It's fair that questions were raised - no matter what the outcome. I'd want our police officers to stay safe, but not go beyond the bounds of the law. Equally, I'm not sure trial by YouTube is appropriate either although if such footage were routinely available it might modify police behaviour for the better.

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Purely taking this at face value, good work by the court for being sensible.

The guy has already been dragged in front of the beak which is a pretty good rap on the knuckles in it's own right.. I'm sure he's been told not to do it again.

It also sounds like sweet karma/justice that the guy who wanted to basically bully/humiliate the officer knowing he wasn't really able/allowed to defend himself actually got some of his own medicine. The fact that the smart ass / hard-man then went blubbing to the courts and lost is just icing on the cake.

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People do not understand the meaning of the world 'assault' as opposed to 'battery' or 'injury'. Assault is placing someone in fear of being injured.

or simply touched.

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