A police force is fighting to block the release of CCTV footage that shows one of its officers firing a Taser at a naked man in a cell – despite a court agreeing it could be published.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating five officers in connection with the incident and is also looking at why the Wiltshire force did not inform it about what happened.
A Bristol crown court jury on Tuesday cleared the officer who fired the Taser, PC Lee Birch, of assault causing actual bodily harm and misconduct in a public office. The IPCC will now examine if Birch and four colleagues breached professional standards.
At the end of the trial, media organisations including the Guardian asked for the CCTV footage of the incident, which was shown in open court, to be released. They argued it was in the public interest for the footage to be published.
Neither the trial judge, the prosecution nor defence objected to the release of the CCTV footage. The man hit by the Taser, Daniel Dove, 23, told the Guardian that he was happy for it to be published.
But after taking instructions from the chief constable of Wiltshire, Patrick Geenty, police representatives said the force would be asking the Crown Prosecution Service not to allow the footage to be released.
I look forward to hearing both Patrick Geenty’s reasoning for suppressing the CCTV footage and the IPCC’s verdict.