Police heavy-handed - cleared men claim

SUFFOLK Police are today investigating a claim of racism and also allegations they used excessive force in dealing with trouble outside an Ipswich night-spot.

SUFFOLK Police are today investigating a claim of racism and also allegations they used excessive force in dealing with trouble outside an Ipswich night-spot.

The allegations come after the trial against three men accused of violent disorder collapsed in court.

The jury at Ipswich Crown Court returned 'not guilty' verdicts on 20-year-old Lee Beaton from Bramford Lane, Ipswich, Michael Bouyer, 19, and Darryl Flora, 22, of Pintail Road, Ipswich, who had all been charged with violent disorder.

Mr Bouyer, of Henley, had been accused of kicking a police officer in the head, as a hostile 60-strong mob spiralled into "chaos" outside Ipswich nightclub Brannigans on June 28 last year. Police feared for their safety as events kicked off.

But the defence said Mr Bouyer had not intended to kick the officer.

At the judge's suggestion, the prosecution eventually accepted their denials, on the understanding that they accept £500 bind overs for 18 months, and the jury returned 'not guilty' verdicts.

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A Suffolk Police spokeswoman confirmed Mr Flora has made an allegation of racism against the officers involved and also claimed they used excessive force in dealing with the incident.

Mr Bouyer has also alleged the police officers used excessive force during the incident.

A relieved but still-angry Mr Bouyer said: "It should never have come to this.

"The judge said the only thing we did wrong that night was acting like children - I jumped on Beaton's back."

Mr Flora said: "The thing which stays with me is not what happens now, but what we all could have lost.

"From what the police said our lives could have been ruined."

Mr Flora also alleges he received injuries while being arrested by police officers.

After a year of having the allegation and impending court case hanging over them, the trio are now pursuing a claim against the police.

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said she could not comment on the case because the matter was being investigated by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

She added that is not police policy to comment on court cases in any case.

A spokesman for the PCA said the investigation is "likely to take months rather weeks".

The cost of the crown court case against the three men would have come to nearly £30,000, in addition to the money spent on the investigation prior to the trial.

FASTfacts: Police Complaints Authority (PCA)

The PCA is an independent body that oversees public complaints against police officers in the 43 forces in England and Wales.

Complaints are recorded by the force if a member of the public alleges police misconduct.

The grievance will be investigated under the supervision of the PCA.

At the end of all investigations, the PCA reviews the evidence to decide whether any officers should face misconduct proceedings.

If it is decided an officer should face such proceedings, the force involved can be instructed by the PCA to launch a disciplinary hearing.

Disciplinary hearings are heard by the force involved and can lead to dismissal, rank reduction or loss of earnings for officers.

There are various ways in which you can make a complaint against a police officer. For a full list, see www.pca.gov.uk or call 020 7273 6450.

Source: www.pca.gov.uk

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