Proportional Response



Garda response to the incident (above) on Henry Street, Dublin on Friday.


It is understood that during the incident the Garda’s pepper spray cannister was taken. The Garda recovered the cannister and used it to subdue the man who was then placed in handcuffs. Garda sources say there are a number of issues that have arisen and the matter is being investigated internally.

Garda inquiry into incident involving homeless man (RTÉ)

Reggie writes:

I know it’s RTÉ and we’ve come to expect a certain bias but the video clearly shows the man being pepper sprayed WHILE he is handcuffed…do they think we’re stupid AND blind?


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55 thoughts on “Proportional Response

    1. Parky Mark

      You can’t expect people to video everything in the hopes that it turns interesting and then they have it caught on camera.

  1. Avon Barksdale

    Poor garda must have been fearing for his life. Can you even imagine how many breakfast rolls he would have consumed by that time of day? Ever tried chasing someone on 5+ breakfast rolls. Pepper spray was not even proportionate. Give these heroes cattle prods. Joe Public has had far too easy a ride

  2. Menace

    Can someone tell me exactly where in the video the man is pepper sprayed? I’ve watched it a number of times and can’t see a clear point where it happens….

    Also on the point of how did a man on the ground, handcuffed take the canister, you clearly hear in the video that this was a ten minute altercation and this video shows one minute…

      1. declan

        No he’s got a point, the pepper spray canister appears to be used as a threat but judging from the lack of reaction it isn’t used. see below

        Wildfire 18% OC Pepper Spray face test – South Dakota Safety:

      2. Menace

        Now stick that in your pipe. It seems he may have been sprayed at some point but it doesn’t happen in this one minute snippet of a ten minute situation which leaves it open to having happened in a more serious situation that has been cut from this video.

  3. Mloc

    I would go out on a limb here and guess that there is more to this than the edited minute we get on YouTube.
    Look on the Facebook page of the person who recorded it, the usual anti Gardai.. #freethefive stuff.

    1. curmudgeon

      We would know the full story if there was a lapel camera, which should be mandatory at this stage.

          1. Mark Dennehy

            The protesters didn’t like that the cameras had an off button the garda could use, you mean. (And to be fair, that button does undermine the entire reason for having the cameras in the first place)

          2. ahjayzis

            In fairness, the guards do have a right to a peaceful shite without their supervisor pouring over the footage later…

      1. Starina

        probably not, cos the gards would just have to say there were “technical difficulties” with the camera

  4. Soundings

    The matter must be referred to GSOC, as per the Garda guidelines.

    Garda, from the evidence of that video, appears to have used unreasonable force, incorrectly deploying incapacitant so close to target, not counselling target afterwards and apparently trying to deter others from recording his actions.

      1. Menace

        It also doesn’t show him deterring anyway from filming. He says to move away for your own safety which is a reasonable request if pepper spray has been deployed…

  5. Parky Mark

    Similar thing happened in LA recently. Homeless man took a gun from a cop and then he was shot by the cops. At least our guys have pepper spray and not guns.

  6. munkifisht

    Seems to be some discussion going on about how the man took the pepper spray off the Garda and also that the start of the video is missing (obviously the man shooting the video says he has 10 minutes of footage). Be that as it may, the fact is that what the video CLEARLY shows, is that the homeless man is in handcuffs, is not a danger to the Garda and he was restrained adequately. There was no reason that the garda pepper spray this man. He obviously presented no danger.

    I have some sympathy for the gardí, they do a difficult job and are seriously underfunded, but they also need to practice restraint. The fallout from the recent protests is very much an “Us and Them” attitude, but we, on both sides, need to remember the gaurdí are part of the community and are there for everyone’s protection.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      I don’t know if he did pepper spray him in the video… doesn’t look like there was any reaction at the point where the gesture, may, show him doing so… or maybe just threatening to do so….

      I find it convenient for the objector to put up his short video and not the full length one…. why would he do that? I dunno.

    2. CousinJack

      The gardai are part of the community? If they were part of the community they would enforce laws without prejudice, and we would have politicians, dvelopers and bankersin jail. What we do have is anpoliticised and nationalised security company

      1. ReproBertie

        The gardaí do not have the power to put people in jail. They gather evidence which is brought to the DPP who decides if a court case is worth pursuing and then the courts jail people provided a guilty verdict is found.

        Bankers have appeared before the courts, thus the gardaí have done their job, but the courts have failed to jail them. The same, of course, is true of countless non-bankers who freely walk the streets on suspended sentences or under the probation act despite being guilty of crimes.

  7. LiamZero

    It’s amazing how people have convinced themselves that this video “clearly” shows the guy being sprayed. It does nothing of the sort.
    I’ve rewatched the point at which the spraying supposedly happens numerous times and it’s impossible to say with any certainty that’s what happened. Perhaps it is but, judging by the lack of reaction, more than likely it is not. The number of people here who are certain that’s what they are seeing shows how susceptible they are to the power of persuasion and suggestion.
    The pepper spraying most likely then happened before the video started, meaning the Garda statement as relayed by RTE is probably accurate. No conspiracy, no collusion.
    As an aside, this whole mess is a good example of how the levels of critical thinking among many people have been eroded to the point that a one-minute clip of grainy footage is now enough for them to be confident they can judge every angle of the situation.
    Grimness all round.

    1. Soundings

      I think the comments here have been fairly restrained. A picture tells a 1,000 words, a video (even a grainy video which this one isn’t) tells even more. But no-one is saying it is totally conclusive. Hopefully, GSOC will now manage a proper investigation, something they are required to do under the Garda guidelines regarding the deployment of incapacitant, and if the Garda is found to have acted inappropriately or unlawfully, he will face the consequences of his actions.

      1. LiamZero

        Well I can’t argue with a thing you’ve said there, apart from pointing out that a picture doesn’t always tell the true thousand words though, nor does a video. Otherwise, I agree.
        I was mainly referring to some of the slightly hysterical responses on the original thread.

      2. Menace

        Where has this idea that gsoc are required to investigate the use of pepper spray come from? They don’t unless a complaint is made either by the injured party or more likely in this situation, the fool recording it and making the malicious allegations.

  8. Jones

    No evidence of actual spraying in the above clip, although perhaps later in the video there is. Guards need to be aware and vigilent at all times. Just because he is a homeless man lying down does not mean he poses no threat. A very high percentage of homeless people are drug addicts and assuming a lot of these addictions are intravenous drugs, the officer above needs to avoid a potential stabbing whether accidental or otherwise.

  9. Bonkers

    RTE reported that GSOC are considering launching an investigation, they never said anything that they are obliged to open an investigation when pepper spray is used.

    In any case that area is well covered by CCTV so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get full footage.

    Another point to raise was where was the Garda’s colleague- I thought they always go to incidents in pairs for safety reasons, should the Garda not have had the back up of a colleague ? If there were two of them there perhaps this wouldnt have happened the way it did

  10. rotide

    Anyone who thinks that the guard pepper sprayed the man in that 1 min of video is hard of thinking.

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