Sussex Police restraint 'I can't breathe' video referred to watchdog

Footage posted on social media
Image caption Video of the incident has been circulating on social media

Footage of officers restraining a man while he repeatedly shouts "I can't breathe" has been referred to the police watchdog.

In the footage from Tuesday, a man is seen lying on the ground in Montpelier Road, Brighton, and being restrained by three officers near a police car.

The video has been circulating on social media.

Sussex Police said it is reviewing the footage and body-worn video captured by the officers of the whole interaction.

In the video, the man on the ground says: "Why have you got your arm on my neck? Bro, I can't breathe."

Sussex Police said the man became aggressive after he was arrested.

In a statement, the force said officers searching for a vulnerable missing teenager went to an address in Montpelier Road and a 28-year-old resident refused police entry and was arrested.

Officers subsequently found the missing 17-year-old girl at the property and took her home, the statement said.

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

"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."

Ch Supt Nick May said there was significant concern for the girl and the man had "actively resisted" arrest.

He said the clip showed a small part of the incident, which started inside the property, and officers had used reasonable force in restraining him.

The force had made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), he added.

An IOPC spokeswoman said: "We are aware of this matter and are making further enquiries with Sussex Police.

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

In a statement, Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: "I can understand why people have reacted in the way they have to this video and that they are seeking assurances that the force used to restrain the man in question was proportionate and fair.

"The video shows officers who had been responding to serious crime reports and, because only a small part of a much longer incident is captured here, Sussex Police will have to first thoroughly investigate other evidence, including body-worn camera footage, in order to ascertain all the facts.

"I want residents to be assured that I take complaints of this kind very seriously and, where police judgement is deemed to have fallen short, scrutiny and appropriate action will be taken."

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