A video from the Manchester riots, in which police hit a suspected looter with a baton, has gone viral on Youtube, sparking both praise and calls for the cops to be investigated.
Filmed on the corner of Jutland Street, behind Picadilly train station in Manchester during the riots on August 9, the video shows a gang of youths, who had allegedly been looting shops, being tracked in the spotlight of a police helicopter.
As a riot squad gives chase, the gang tries to speed off on bicycles. However the police give chase and corner a suspect, who is then apparently beaten with batons.
The man on the bike does not appear to be injured in the video and is questioned by police after getting up from the ground. He does not appear to be arrested and is seen walking off at the end of the clip.
A description that goes with the video reads: "Tactical Aid Unit catch rioters trying to flee from the city centre, and blockade the street. The sound you can hear in the background is the helicopter overhead, which had been hovering around the area for about 10 minutes, tracking them with its spotlight.
"The man on the bike gets up on his own, and is ushered to the side of the road by a policeman. Another man with a bike is questioned, and allowed to continue on.
"After seeming to question those they had caught for a few minutes, the two teams met at the top of the hill and left with the TAU van, heading back towards the city centre. To the best of my knowledge no arrests were made."
Comments on Youtube are mainly in praise of the police.
“That’s probably the first time those kids have been given any form of punishment,” said Braithwaite1922.
“Hardly a beating! They are NOT innocent youths & deserve more than a mere tickle of the police baton. Sewer rats, that what they are & deserve everything that comes to them & more!” wrote redarmy2000.
110 arrests were made in Manchester on August 9 as shops, cars and buildings were torched looted by hundreds of rioters, some as young as nine.
Manchester’s Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said that the riots were amoung the worst things he’d ever seen a policeman.
“We saw swarms – thousands of people – intent on criminal violence coming into the city centre,” he said.
“We were taking attacks on our officers, we were protecting property where we could, but the numbers were so large.
“It’s very sad that businesses have been looted and it’s been a sickening night for the city centre of Manchester.”
Do you think the police were justified in using a baton on the youths?