Not Saussure

March 8, 2007

Who’s a big boy, then?

Filed under: UK — notsaussure @ 11:47 pm

Of Toni Comer, the Sheffield woman whose arrest, captured on CCTV, has caused such concern:

In a statement, Pc Mulhall said: “As her hands became free she tried to grab handfuls of my genitals and knee and kick me in the same place.”

He said he had punched her to subdue her and then to “deaden her arm”.

Handfuls? Crikey.

For what it’s worth, I asked a colleague, a retired Police Officer, what he made of Pc Mulhall’s contention he was repeatedly hitting her arm to deaden it.   He said that training may well have changed since his day, but then they were told not to try to use that sort of restraint.    Instead, they were shown a way of gripping the suspect’s arm, just above the elbow, putting pressure between the muscles in such a way as effectively to immobilise you because it hurts so much if you try to struggle while they put the handcuffs on you.  

He demonstrated the grip on me, and he’s right — so long as you don’t move, it doesn’t hurt much, but try to struggle and you quickly change your mind.   As he said, training may have changed, but he was a tad suspicious about the officer’s account.

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  1. Haven’t been able to watch the video footage, but from what I can gather there’s blame on both sides; PC Mulhall may have overstepped the mark as far as use of force goes, but he wasn’t acting without provocation.

    Comment by James — March 9, 2007 @ 9:26 am

  2. I am as sceptical about police officers as one can be, but I can quite imagine (having been on the receiving end of such drunken animal myself) that he was justified.

    In any case, I think that she lost all her rights to be respected after the way she behaved. She got her comeuppance, and that is that.

    She cannot even remember the incident FFS !!

    Comment by Pascal — March 9, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  3. She wouldn’t, of course, be able to remember the incident had she suffered, as apparently she claims to have done, from an epileptic fit. I don’t know what happened, either, obviously; I must say I was surprised by my ex-copper colleague’s reaction — ‘Charge him with ABH’ — which isn’t the way he normally responds to criticism of the police.

    Comment by notsaussure — March 9, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

  4. Only a tad suspicious? The ex-copper is not a Yorkshireman by any chance is he? Because it sounds like the great Yorkshire understatement to me.

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — March 9, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  5. He’s not, but my late wife was from your part of the world, JHL (Hessle, to be precise) and something of her native mode of expression has clearly rubbed off on me.

    Comment by notsaussure — March 9, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

  6. notsaussure: Do you fancy linking? You already link to my alter ego, John Reid MP (spoof).

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — March 9, 2007 @ 10:03 pm

  7. Tom Reynolds over on Random Acts of Reality, who meets far more drunkards and epileptics in the course of his working life than either of us, tends to dispute the woman’s claim that she was having a seizure. Since I don’t currently have the ability to watch the video (my Internet connection is a joke), I shall defer to his greater experience.

    Still, I hope PC Mulhall is brought up before his Inspector for a sharp word about proper restraint techniques.

    Comment by James — March 9, 2007 @ 11:25 pm

  8. The video isn’t really that much help; the camera’s too far away to make out much that’s going on — other than that the officer is hitting her repeatedly on the arm — and, anyway, she’s mostly obscured by other officers trying to restrain her.

    I’ve obviously not had the experience Tom Reynolds has had but I’ve more experience of dealing with epilepsy than I’d like, since my late wife’s last illness caused her to suffer from both tonic-clonic (what used to be called ‘grand mal’) and atonic (‘petit mal’) seizures.

    Based on the video, I certainly couldn’t say whether it looked like a tonic-clonic seizure, both because you can’t see that much and because she’s being restrained by the officers. And you just wouldn’t be able to tell from the video if it were an atonic seizure, because they come in all shapes, sizes and flavours — but, very frequently, you can’t remember what’s happened when you’ve had one.

    Comment by notsaussure — March 9, 2007 @ 11:50 pm

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