10 February 2005 Edition

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PSNI abuse West Belfast teens

BY Jennifer Williams

The families of three teenage boys allegedly assaulted by the PSNI in Belfast city centre last Saturday 29 January, are to meet with solicitors to discuss taking legal proceedings and are also lodging complaints with the Police Ombudsman.

Seán McDonnell, Gerard McCarthy and Padraig Baker, all aged 13, say they were grabbed by PSNI members in Castle Street, who pushed them against shutters and twisted their arms up their backs.

Seán McDonnell said the PSNI tried to justify their actions by saying they suspected that the three had firearms.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, and in a typical over-reaction, the PSNI deployed four unmarked patrol cars and three Land Rovers to arrest a 16-year-old schoolboy, who they accused of painting graffiti in Irish on the wall of the disused Andersonstown barracks in West Belfast.

The PSNI chased Pádraig Ó Mearain and arrested him close to the barracks after he painted the slogan 'Fágaigí an bealach ag slóite na bhFiann'.

They brought him to Grosvenor Road PSNI barracks where he was stripped and placed in a boiler suit after the PSNI said they needed his clothes for forensic evidence. He was also forced to give a DNA sample.

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