Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Connla Young:

Masked loyalists in Belfast

Two PSNI officers involved in a weekend confrontation with nationalists in a Co Antrim town are already under investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s office.

The two officers were reported to Nuala O’Loan’s office in December 2003 after a north Antrim man complained he had been the victim of a campaign of intimidation involving the two officers.

Cushendall man Donald O’Reilly claimed he had been the subject of PSNI harassment on almost a dozen occasions in the last three years.

Last night Mr O’Reilly said the two officers under investigation had been involved when PSNI members baton-charged a number of local people and doused them with CS gas.

Mr O’Reilly said the Police Ombudsman’s Office should be called in to probe the conduct of both PSNI men already under investigation as well as other PSNI members involved in the confrontation.

“I was there when this incident took place and I couldn’t believe it when I saw these two officers in the middle of it all,” he said.

“These men shouldn’t be on duty in this town when they are the subject of an investigation here. I took an audio recording of the incident during which the two officers were identified. The tape is currently with my solicitor.

“When I wouldn’t hand the tape over to the PSNI, I was attacked with a baton and had CS gas sprayed on me.

“Now I find myself in a position that I have to lodge a second complaint against these PSNI men with the Police Ombudsman’s Office before the first investigation is even resolved.”

Residents have complained of an unusually high number of PSNI patrols in the Cushendall area on Saturday. The trouble is understood to have begun after several PSNI men, including the two under investigation, became involved in a verbal confrontation with a group of local people over attacks on Catholics in Ahoghill.

Moyle District Council chairman Oliver McMullan complained of being struck during the incident after he tried to protect a local man being beaten by three PSNI officers as the man lay on the ground.

The Sinn Féin man confirmed that he too was in the process of preparing a complaint to be lodged with the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

A PSNI spokesperson said three officers had been injured during the weekend disturbance. The spokesperson added: “If anyone has a genuine cause for complaint concerning the actions of any officer, they should contact the Police Ombudsman.”

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