Video: Heavy-handed police or were they just doing their job? Formal investigation launched into incident on Norwich’s Prince of Wales Road

A still taken from the CCTV footage of the incident on Prince of Wales Road. A still taken from the CCTV footage of the incident on Prince of Wales Road.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
10:54 AM

Police are awaiting the outcome of an investigation after a video showing alleged heavy-handed treatment by officers on a young man in Norwich’s Prince of Wales Road was posted on social media.

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A still taken from the CCTV footage of the incident on Prince of Wales Road.A still taken from the CCTV footage of the incident on Prince of Wales Road.

The YouTube video was posted by Samantha Turnbull whose son, Louis Camilleri, can be seen being arrested by officers after he swore at, and allegedly bit, an officer.

Yesterday, police federation bosses said the video ‘did not tell the full story’ and claimed the officers involved acted properly.

But Mrs Turnbull said her son, who suffers from ADHD, borderline Aspergers and who has a conduct disorder, was the victim of what she has described as “excessive use of force” by police following an incident at Fluke nightclub in September 2012.

Mrs Turnbull, also known as Marilyn Monroe look-alike Melita Morgan, made a series of complaints against the police following the arrest of her son, now 26, and said she put the video up this week to gauge “public reaction” to the footage ahead of the outcome of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Melita MorganMelita Morgan

Mrs Turnbull, who has obtained a copy of the CCTV footage from police, admits her son swore at police but stands by her son’s denial that he bit one of the officers.

She said: “I just wanted to see what the public thought.”

The incident occurred while Mr Camilleri was in a dispute with one of the bouncers outside the club.

She said: “He said the police didn’t want to listen and so he swore. Maybe some people might say you shouldn’t swear at police but this is a person with Asperger’s. He was just trying to explain what had happened and why he was so upset and angry.”

Analysis

Sometimes looks can be deceiving. On initial viewing the video which has been posted on YouTube by the mother of a man arrested in Prince of Wales Road appears shocking. It appears to show a sudden, and uncalled for, heavy-handedness on behalf of the police officers involved.

And that’s exactly what Samantha Turnbull claims happened.

Yet, it is understood those officers involved tell a different story.

They claim part of the video is missing and that, were the sound available, it would clearly show an officer calling for help after being bitten.

If that were true that’s something no one should have to put up with.

Police have a duty to keep the city safe and sometimes have to be robust in their handling of individuals – but there’s a limit to what is and is not acceptable.

Whether this action breached that limit will be determined by an independent investigative body – and that’s exactly how it should be.

Mr Camilleri admitted a public order offence when the case came before Norwich Magistrates’ Court in 2012 but denied an assault charge which was later discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “Twelve complaints were received by Norfolk Constabulary concerning the conduct of officers during an arrest on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich on 1 September 2012, in custody and during the court process.

“The complaints were investigated by the Professional Standards Department and none of them was upheld. An appeal against this decision has been submitted to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. As this investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Paul Ridgway, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: “We appreciate that the images of the CCTV in isolation look dynamic, but the CCTV does not tell the full story and of course there is no sound available.

“The result of the investigation showed that the officers acted properly, in line with their training, and we are disappointed that although the catalyst of this incident was an officer being abused and subsequently seriously hurt, CPS decided to discontinue the ‘assault police’ charge against the detainee. We are aware that the IPCC is reviewing this case and we await their report on this matter.”

An IPCC spokesman said: “We have received an appeal against the outcome of a police investigation into complaints relating to an incident in September 2012, and it is being considered.”

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