Police officers have come under heavy public scrutiny for using excessive force during a ‘sit in’ for free education at the University of Warwick on Wednesday.
The Warwick for Free Education group had staged a peaceful sit down in one of the University’s buildings, Senate House. Discussions regarding rising tuition fees were being held during the protest, which was one of a number across the county, when the police arrived. Students, who were at the scene, reported that they all linked arms but then the officers began pushing and attacking the protesters.
The officers have been accused of using excessive force, even using CS spray (pepper spray) into one of the protester’s faces. Further allegations have been made stating that officers held a girl by the throat using her scarf. They used force to remove protesters from the university building. The officers were also accused of drawing their Tasers and threatening the protesters.
West Midlands Police have confirmed that they were called to the demonstration when they received a report that staff member of the University had been assaulted by a protester. The police force also acknowledged via social media that Tasers had been drawn but confirmed that it had not been deployed and that a warning sound was played.
A spokesperson for the University of Warwick stated that the University security staff supervising the event had been subjected to unprovoked violence causing them to call the police for assistance.
A number of videos and photographs were taken by protesters during their removal, one such video shows clear footage of an officer deploying CS spray onto a student who was trying to assist his friend. The phone on which the footage was being recorded was then knocked to the floor and stood on by one of the officers. The owner stated that he believed the officer stood on it to prevent further footage being recorded and also to damage the video already taken.
Two people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing an officer in the course of his duty and one person was arrested on suspicion of assault. All three have now been released on police bail.
At Farleys, our specialised Actions Against the Police team have a great deal of experience in bringing claims against the police where they have acted inappropriately. For further information or to speak to us about pursuing a claim against the Police, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us by email or call us on 0845 050 1958 or alternatively you can email us.