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Calls for officer who allegedly struck man in head with baton to be suspended

Police pub

There have been calls for the police officer allegedly responsible for striking a young man across the head with a baton in the early hours of Monday morning to be suspended from duty.

Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd says the officer suspected of striking a man across the head should be relieved of his duties while an investigation is conducted.

Aaron Beeton was hospitalised, suffering serious head injuries, after police were called to a disturbance in the William Street area of Lurgan in the early hours of Monday morning.

Mr O’Dowd was speaking after he and councillor Keith Haughian met a senior police officer in Lurgan.

“I told the District Commander, Superintendent David Moore, that this was the most serious and shocking incident involving police I have dealt with in this last 15 years,” he said.

“If it hadn’t been for the swift actions of the victim’s friends, in bringing him to hospital, we might have been dealing with a death.

“Eyewitness have claimed that, the young man…was posing no threat to police or anyone else.”

“It’s my view that the police have misled the public by stating in a public statement that they were dealing with a ‘large aggressive crowd’ when the young man was struck.

“They were not dealing with an aggressive crowd at the time the young man was struck.

“The crowd became agitated after the young man was assaulted.

“There are also serious questions to be answered by the police as to how they allowed a seriously injured man, who was at one stage unconscious, to leave the scene without receiving first aid and being placed in an ambulance.

“The question remains – why was it left to friends to bring him to hospital where he required an emergency intervention to save his life.

Concluding Mr O’Dowd said: “The Police and the Police Ombudsman must act quickly and suspend the officer responsible for the terrible injuries inflicted on this young man.

“They must conduct an investigation into his actions and a thorough investigation into how police dealt with incident and its aftermath.”

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