Home news Judge rules police acted ‘honestly and reasonably’

Judge rules police acted ‘honestly and reasonably’


POLICE acted honestly and reasonably when they Tasered a shoplifter on Brighton seafront, a judge has ruled.

Paul McClellend had accused Sussex police of using excessive force when they shot him with the electric shock weapon on Brighton seafront in July 2013.

“You feel it, you can’t breath, it takes your breath away,” the admitted shoplifter told the county court in Brighton at a hearing last year.

Mr McClelland, who described himself as a Jekyll and Hyde character, tried to sue Sussex police over the seafront confrontation which he claimed left him with physical and mental injuries.

His Honour Judge Jonathan Simpkiss dismissed the claim saying it was objectively reasonable for the police to Taser him.

Mr McClelland, 40, from Brighton admitted taking four cans of beer, assaulting a Sainsbury’s security guard and resisting arrest.

He was stripped to the waist when a female officer shot him in the back with her 50,000 Volt Taser.

Another officer kicked him as he fell forward onto his face.

He told a judge at the County Court in Brighton the incident in July 2013 had left him suicidal.

The court was shown police body worn camera footage of the incident showing the point of view of the female officer.

She can be heard shouting orders at Mr McClelland before firing her Taser at him when he has his back to her.

“Get on the floor, there is a red dot on your chest,” she shouts at him.

Mr McClelland wiped his eyes as the footage was shown.

After he is Tasered and falls to the ground, the officer says to him: “There are two barbs in your back which will be removed. There will be no lasting effects from the Taser.”

Another angle in video shot by a member of the public, another officer appears to kick out at Mr McClelland as he falls to the ground.

Asked if he agreed he was a violent man, Mr McClelland said: “With myself.

“Suicide, slash my wrists, overdose.I’ve gone into the sea to try and kill myself.”

Mr Clarke said: “Your intention was to fight them.”

“At that time, yes,” Mr McClelland said.

In his written judgement, His Honour Judge Jonathan Simpkiss said: “I therefore conclude that the officers honestly and reasonably believed that it was necessary to apply a Taser to the Claimant and to bring him to the floor with a leg strike.

“I also conclude that it was objectively reasonable in the circumstances for them to do so.

“The Claimant himself did not believe that the officers had don anything unreasonable in July 2013 and changed his mind later.

“That Claimant was not in fact seriously injured as a result of the actions of the officers. He suffered moderate grazing to his face, knuckles, left elbow and fingers, which resolved in three weeks, as did the bruising to his arms. He also alleged that he had suffered psychological trauma.

“This, he says, was caused by his feeling humiliation at being Tasered in public and his anxiety is caused by knowing that everyone has seen online footage of the incident. There is no medical evidence to support this contention.”

Source: The Argus