Police punch woman during arrest
Yahoo News | March 8, 2007
CCTV footage has emerged showing a young black woman, who may have been having an epileptic fit, being punched five times by a policeman.
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CCTV footage has emerged showing a young black woman, who may have been having an epileptic fit, being punched five times by a police officer.
Toni Comer, 20, was arrested outside a Sheffield nightclub for vandalising a car when she was thrown out.
During her arrest an officer from South Yorkshire Police said that he hit her "as hard as I am physically able" to subdue her so she could be handcuffed. She was later dragged away with her trousers around her ankles.
But Ms Comer, who admits being drunk at the time of the arrest, is epileptic and believes her movements may have been caused by a fit.
The incident was captured on CCTV and Ms Comer is now launching legal action against the South Yorkshire force.
Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei of the National Black Police Association called for an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, saying that it was "absolutely" a concern that race may have been an issue.
But he said that, while the video looked "appalling" at first glance, it was acceptable for officers to use force of the kind if the arrest was proving difficult.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "These images turn the stomach and raise serious questions about police misconduct.
"The IPCC must investigate urgently in the knowledge that public confidence in modern policing and the police complaints system is at stake."
In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said: "We are satisfied with the way this incident was handled and happy with the conduct of the officer, but we will investigate the circumstances of the complaint."