Knocking Heads


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You may have seen the video footage of John Rooney, 22, which shows him being dragged upside down by gardai, forcing his head to scrape along the ground, outside the US embassy on Saturday during a protest in support of the people of Gaza.

Mr Rooney then began to have an epileptic seizure and friends needed to give him medicine.

The Irish Mirror has since reported that Mr Rooney plans to make a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission over the incident.

Video: GSOC probe to be launched after gardai filmed dragging protester’s head along the ground (Irish Mirror)

84 thoughts on “Knocking Heads

  1. wicky woo

    Yeah in a highly charged situation if the police ask you to move you should move. If you dont they might have to manhandle you and in that situation you might end up getting your head dragged on the ground. So in conclusion best move along when they ask you to, even if you disagree they are not wearing the funny hats for a party but are in fact enforcing the law.

    1. Colin

      Exactly. If you are causing a disturbance to the peace or declining to be moved by the Gardai then expect to be politely asked to moved and if necessary, forcefully moved. People seem to forget that if someone is overtly resisting, its impossible to be ‘gentle’ or ‘cautious’ You move the person by any means necessary. Don’t wanted to be treated like that, then either move or don’t attend.

      Also, in all my years as a EFR, I’ve never seen orally administered medication during a fit. Completely open to correction, but it wouldn’t make sense (to me) as the airway and trachea is already compromised. Oral route is also the slowest.

        1. Colin

          Buchal? For an epileptic patient in a fit? Best of luck to you doing that without losing a finger or causing a gag reflex. The only time I’ve ever been advised to use Buchal is for glucose for a fully conscience diabetic patient.

          I’m actually genuinely interested in what was administered and why in that scenario. I’ll put my hands up and admit I’m not an expert but oral admin seems way off.

          1. dd

            It’s buccal. There’s good studies in the Lancet in (i think) 1999 and 2005 which are RCTs comparing to rectal. I suspect people are more comfortable with the buccal route.

            I’ve no idea why you had to use buccal glucose or a fully conscious patient…surely they could have self administered?

            I’ve used the buccal route on many occasions without any problems at all.

          2. passerby

            It’s not oral administration, it’s buccal administration of midazolam, very standard treatment for seizures. The medication is absorbed from mucous membranes in between the cheeks and teeth – administer half a dose each side.

      1. munkifisht

        Wait a second there matey-o. I agree with you that the Gaurds are responsible for keeping the peace, but this is just unwarranted violence. They had subdued this guy at 18 seconds into this video where he was on the ground and 3 gaurds were holding him, the fourth one being the only one who seemed to know what the f**k he was doing telling everyone to “take it easy, take it easy”. Dragging the guy away on his face is a sick example of a thuggish and corrupt force. The response here should have been to put him on his front, cuff him, lift him safely and take him away.

    2. Moral_Judgement

      Terrible advice. I take it you’ve never been in a confrontation with the police before?

    1. PK

      I thought they handled it very well. They asked him to move and he didn’t, he resisted and they tried to arrest him. He had a fit and they took care of him. What more do you want? Do you really expect the guards to just say “ok folks work away there and do whatever ye want… See yez good luck! Sure go right up to the windows of the embassy there”

      1. Haydoh

        Maybe not drag him by the face along the ground? Maybe? Are they not trained in techniques to safely subdue people. Arm behind the back shtyle typ of thing? I have no problem with them moving people forcefully (if the person keeps resisting or not complying with reasonable requests to move) as long as it’s safe. This was very badly handled, sloppy and unsafe stuff from the Gards.

  2. Al

    they picked him up, he kept kicking out at them, what did he think was going to happen? tea and biscuits with the super in harcourt street?

    1. ekim

      the only time i see anything resembling a kick is probably when his head hit the ground and the only leg he had free moved out, as a natural reaction to trauma.

      these cops shouldn’t have been left to police a demo outside the US Embasy

      1. smoothlikemurphys

        “the only leg he had free moved out, as a natural reaction to trauma.”

        Quite the diagnosis Dr. Ekim

  3. phil

    I saw the video yesterday. Now while I understand that the Gardai sometimes have a difficult job, and protesters are often educated enough to push Gardai right to the limit of their tolerance of trolling.

    I do however expect the Gardai as a professional organisation to be trained to deal with protesters in a civil professional manner. Working in the job they are in , they can expect to meet people who are passionate about the cause they are protesting about , and can make a nuisance of themselves in public. This should not be a potential injury/death sentance for the person who is makeing a nuisance of themslebes.

    Too often Ive seen Gardai, who are being pick on/ trolled , snap, and completely loose the run of themselves , beating protesters over the head with their self defence equipment…

  4. Pablo Pistachio

    I’d have though the Gardai would have been better trained for dealing with peaceful protesters. Yes, what they were doing was a peaceful protest.
    I look forward to the next “pro-life” gathering getting baton charged off the street though. Or when the taxi drivers decide to block off streets during rush hour, deserves a good face scraping along the ground.

  5. H

    Why weren’t they outside the Israeli embassy, am I missing something (in relation to this, not in general, I don’t see much Irish news)

    1. ZeligIsJaded

      Yanks provide the boom boom.

      Palestinians are the kind of people the US approve of being dead.

      Or else Israelis are the kind of people America disapprove of being upset.

      It’s complex.

  6. Formerly known as

    At no stage does a person have the right to drag another person on the road, by their head.

  7. Lilly

    Christ, that makes for difficult watching. I can understand the Garsdai might be frightened in such situations but there’s no excuse for dragging a guy’s head along the ground. They’re not blind, they know what they’re doing. You wouldn’t do it to a dog. Clearly they need more and better training.

    1. B Bop

      This. I absolutely have sympathies to the Gardai dealing with angry & abusive people provoking them but in this instance yes the mistake was head dragging on road & perhaps this chap can be more aware of his health situation.
      Hopefully lesson learned all round.

      1. Sham Bob

        You’re right, it is too much to expect reasonable use of force by the Gardai in a protest-policing situation.

  8. Tony the Toy Gur

    That’s not a good situation for someone with serious epilepsy to be in. They should’ve been more responsible before getting involved in a protest with Gardaí present.

    1. Formerly known as

      Why should a person with epilepsy be deprived of the right to protest? I think he can expect to be treated with respect by the Gards.

      1. Tony the Toy Gur

        They shouldn’t be denied the right to protest. But they need to realise that in their condition, engaging in activities like these isn’t a good idea. It’s common sense for their own good.

        1. scottser

          so folks with epilepsy should just stay at home and wait for their next seizure and not participate in society generally??

  9. the good helen

    ok, we didnt see what happened before, but in reality, that is just not on. Dragging someone along the ground with their head scraping along the way is so unprofessional, no matter what they did before hand. There are restraining moves they should know, correct ways to move a person without doing this. I really don’t know what happened before, but unless he was coming at them with a knive, gun, or physical harm they would have no reason to be so brutal with him.

  10. Just sayin'

    Why would someone violently resist Gardaí like that? I thought it was a non-violent protest. Also, the video was uploaded by a biased source – I doubt we’re seeing the full picture – just what they want us to see.

    1. smoothlikemurphys

      No context – Par for the course with almost every video taken by protestors sadly.

  11. Violet

    Much as I hate our yobs in blue, this is not brutality.

    0:21 Two cops are carrying a protestor away. Their grip is uncertain.
    0:25 His right foot comes within inches of the face of the cop on the left. The cop dodges it.
    0:26 The cop on the left drops the protestor. The cop on the right keeps going. The protestor’s head is now on the ground.
    0:28 The cop on the left picks up the protester again, this time by the jacket. The jacket slips half-off, so the protestor’s head remains on the ground as they pull him away. Neither cops seems aware of this.
    0:29 The other protestors alert the cops to this.
    0:30 Both cops stop and put the protestor on the ground. They get a firmer grip, and carry him away safely.

    We’re talking about four seconds of contact between the guy’s face and the road. It looks accidental, and understandably so given that one of the cops is dodging a kick.

    That kick is the only thing in this that looks even mildly aggressive – and the cops rightly ignore it.

    1. The Big Fella

      That’s actually the best and most rationale commentary on this incident I’ve seen. I would add that one of the GARDA involved in carrying him is the main Garda attending to him during his fit. He seems genuinely quite shaken & worried about the man.

    2. ReproBertie

      Sin é Violet but it’s more important that we get to shout about brutality and a police state than view it as the unfortunate accident it appears to be. No doubt if the ombudsman receives a complaint and decides it’s without merit that’ll be further evidence of a police state.

  12. jungleman

    Bad form with the head-dragging. I wonder was it intentional.

    Honestly, I’d be more concerned with the condition of some of those Gardaí. Are there no fitness requirements for them to meet?

    1. Violet

      Doubt it. We haven’t seen a twink-related protest to the Israelis since David Norris lost that election.

          1. Mick Flavin

            Listen, let’s end this pitiful dance around our true motives. Ask me out if you want to ask me out. I might say yes. We could have a wonderful and lasting connection, or it could be a short, bittersweet detour on our respective journeys. Either way, isn’t it worth the risk?

    2. DaveM

      The cops would not stand a chance if Twink showed up.She would have ripped them a fresh one.

  13. the good helen

    they should have been aware of his head dragging on the ground. That is the point. The description you give is good, and does make sense, however, the 4 or more seconds his head is on the ground even by accident was enough to cause this man to fit. OK – the screamer in the backround did my nut in and she should have been removed to some sort of padded cell. The guy shouting at the gardai to cover him with a jacket cos he’s shaking – has no idea what is going on in the world. But at the end of the day, these gardai are doing their jobs, and there is blame to a certain extent on both sides from what I can see. I know it may not have been noticed by the gardai, but they still hurt him, and they need to take responsibility for their actions. Like he would have had to if he hurt them.

    1. Violet

      I wouldn’t argue with any of that, Helen. Maybe the training does need to be looked at, as a couple of people suggested.

  14. the good helen

    Exactly, lets say he took that fit and died. The situation would be far more extreme right now. And their defense in saying they didn’t see his head dragging along the ground would – to me – not be good enough. Both are at fault, that guy should have moved when asked by Gardai – if they asked me to move I would. He chose not to and was removed – however the way the gardai removed him was unprofessional and dangerous.

    1. Jeremy Kyle

      Yeah I was thinking of Ian Tomlinson watching this, different circumstances but I can only imagine the s*** storm if he had died from that fit.

  15. andymac

    Fingers crossed in the future the Gards will be tooled up and we can have some proper permanent justice. I will feel so much safer on the mean streets then.

  16. The People's Hero

    The only comment I’ll make here is this one…. All else has already been said….. Pretty much all of those Gardai need a serious run on Operation Transformation…. The bellies on them are a disgrace,,,,,,

      1. scottser

        i believe the ‘battered pudding box’ is the dietary downfall of our blueshirted protectors.

  17. gallantman

    Note to protesters. If someone is trying to calm down after a fit standing around them aggressively roaring and shouting is unhelpful.

    1. the good helen

      for some reason I doubt she is ever on broadsheet to read that, however, she may in her padded cell that she lives in have someone tell her that one day. She was a lunatic!

  18. Jackdaw

    For goodness sake. Can you not hear that woman saying ” he’s about to have a fit” ie quick mate pretend to have a fit it’ll look great on camera. This is a very common tactic with professional protesters.

  19. Planet of the Missing Biros

    The ‘criminalisation of protest’ was a policy agreed at G8 and Bilderberg meetings 10 years ago in order to make the public think that protest of any kind might be an illegal activity and to divide public opinion so as to weaken the citizen’s will to stand up for their rights. This makes it easier for governments to pass unpopular laws which restrict the rights of the individual in favour of the rights of large corporations.

    Police forces are usually easy to convince of this false strategy because they are usually made up of under-achievers and lazy characters who dislike people who are well educated and query authority. For Police, protests are a chance to bash a few heads and take out their own frustrations on those who they would never beat in an intellectual contest.

    The Police always hold the ground between the powers that be and the general populace they try to control. Police don’t serve you, they serve the political and business cliques.

    1. ReproBertie

      Howya Jim?

      Can you explain how, if the police see protests as an opportunity to bash heads, so many protests in Ireland pass off peacefully?

  20. Westbrot

    How about from the paramedic who treated him on both occasions. Slim chance in a city the size of Dublin that you get the same person twice in a very short space of time, both times at protests. But I’m sure you’ll say it’s a coincidence or some plot on behalf of the government. And to give you an indication of the type of individual he is he verbally abused the paramedics on the way to hospital and kicked off in The ED. Such a nice guy eh ?

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