Watchdog will probe fracas in which garda filmed using baton on man
Footage from up to 10 mobile phones will be given to the Garda Ombudsman (GSOC) as part of an investigation into a garda filmed using his baton during an anti-Nama protest, campaigners say.
GSOC announced yesterday that it has launched an investigation after footage from one phone was posted on social media after a protest at a Co Wexford hotel.
Members of People Before Profit and a number of other groups had just successfully prevented the auction of Nama properties at the Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey.
But a confrontation ensued after gardai tried to arrest a man for alleged assault.
There were a number of scuffles, and towards the end of the four-minute online video a garda could be seen drawing his baton and hitting a member of the public.
GSOC said it had opened an investigation into events "seen in a video on social media".
"The commission is of the opinion that the public interest is best served by an independent investigation of this matter," it said in a statement
Wexford councillor Deirdre Waddling said people were left "shocked and stunned" by the incident.
"The auction upstairs in the hotel had already been successfully halted," she said.
"There were 32 houses and 16 acres of land for sale via Nama, and with 3,500 people on the housing waiting list in Wexford we strongly believe those homes should be going to some of them.
"But a confrontation began in the lobby afterwards and it was quite shocking."
She said she had ended up on the floor during the incident.
"There was a surge and I looked around and saw a garda lying on the ground and the baton was out," she said. "I didn't see the batoning myself because I was on the floor, but people were just shocked."
"I asked gardai what happened and one of them said a garda had been kicked from behind and the baton was used."