Sleeping Rough



This morning.

Chancery Lane, Dublin 8

Anon writes:

This took place at 11am. No visible provocation from the homeless man. Garda afterwards claimed he was resisting arrest and was apparently warned he would be pepper sprayed. He had been told to move on and was slowly packing away his things. He sleeps here regularly opposite our office and has never been any trouble. He was taken away in a van a few minutes later.

It’s worth noting that a few days ago, when the same homeless man was being harassed and threatened with stabbing by another man we called the Gardaí and they never showed up…


What occurred before filming?

Anon writes:

The man was asleep in his sleeping bag and was woken up by a garda, they talked for a minute and then the guy got up and started slowly putting away his stuff. The garda looked impatient and seemed to be encouraging him to hurry up. After a few minutes of this some verbal argument seemed to happen, and the garda took out handcuffs and showed them to the guy, shaking them. The garda then seemed to call for backup, and a van turned up shortly after the video was shot.

They continued to argue, but there was no physical contact from either party. The garda seemed to be leaving, the situation seemed defused. After moving about 30 feet up the street the garda turned back looking aggressive, and that prompted me to start filming. The garda took out the pepper spray and the rest is what you see in video. We couldn’t hear anything through the glass but the guy didn’t display aggressive body language. My colleague and I confronted the garda after the fact and the first words out of his mouth were “I suppose you want to make a complaint.”

Earlier: Feeding Our Friends

This Is Not A Crisis. It’s A National Emergency


100 thoughts on “Sleeping Rough

  1. Fergus the magic postman

    That sounds about right.

    In any case, resisting arrest alone is not cause for the use pepper spray.

      1. Fergus the magic postman

        I didn’t mean legally. It’s unwarranted is what I meant. Unless the Guard is in danger, & is trying to protect himself.
        For all I know the boys & girls in blue could be legally entitled to spray whoever the hell they want, whenever they want. What am I talking about,- of course they are.

  2. smolach

    happened a while back too the guards are moving the homeless on earlier in the morning so they wont be seen, its a case of if we dont see them they dont exist, way to sort out the homeless crisis Kenny

  3. Ronan

    We have no idea what happened, as we have no audio. He may have been told to stay still, or sit on the ground, and not complied – he was moving as he got sprayed.

    1. Anne

      You move, you get sprayed?

      Since when did the guards get pepper spray and batons?
      Like the one that guard was using on the elderly man at the Nama auction in Gorey?

      Did they always have batons and pepper spray? WTF.

      We’ve turned into America.

      1. Ronan

        No we haven’t turned into America. Pepper spray is a good non-lethal force and far preferable to a batin’.

        I see a video with a man being spoken to by a Garda, making a move to the right and being sprayed at the moment of making a move.

        There are a number of possibilities, not exhaustively examined here:
        1. The Garda zealously pepper sprayed a homeless man
        2. The Garda zealously pepper spray a homeless man who was giving lip
        3. The Garda was a little quick in using pepper spray after a sudden movement gave a fright
        4. The Garda felt threatened due to verbal abuse or sudden movement from the homeless man
        5. The homeless man had been told to calm down, was resisting instructions to move on, and got pepper sprayed after a movement
        6. The homeless man had been instructed to sit, or stay still, was refusing to give particulars such as their name, and got sprayed when not co-operating due the Garda’s assessment of their physical safety.

        The video evidence allows for all of the above possibilities. If you don’t like Gardaí, you’ll tend towards explanations 1-2. Not all Gardaí are langers, even if many are.

        1. munkifisht

          Hang on a second…. You’re suggesting that “Giving lip” is a warranted use of pepper spray? Why kind of Orwellian society do you think we live in

          On pretty much every potential excuse you give there the Garda is in the wrong. The video does not show the Garda being in any danger or the man trying to run away. He was standing there and then got assaulted.

          I do have some sympathy for the Guards. They are underfunded and poorly trained. Considering the helmet, this lad was on a bike too, probably a junior lad who’s still wet behind the ears and doesn’t have the gumption or awareness to assess the situation properly. He should have been shadowing someone more senior and getting a feel for how to deal with misdemeanor offenses and people who are of no danger to anyone and a just being verbally belligerent.

          1. Ronan

            I didn’t suggest that for a second. I said it’s a possibility, in which case it would be egregious behaviour from the Garda.

            All I have presented is 6 possible scenarios for the pepper spray, to demonstrate that we can’t know what happened because we have no audio and no view of the minutes beforehand.

            The lady taking the video clearly thinks it’s 1 or 2 that happened. My point is we don’t know.

          2. munkifisht

            Well my point is we don’t need to know. What we do know is that pepper spray was unwarranted. The guy is obviously not doing anything that could be contrived as dangerous.

        2. Anne

          Yeah he probably got a fright, the poor diddums.

          The guards are not sergeant majors..People shouldn’t be treated like puppets who move or don’t move instantly on instruction, and if they don’t, they get sprayed.

          Jesus, the man might be mentally impaired and can’t follow instructions.
          He wasn’t a threat and that’s the only, maybe, possibly excuse to use that s**t.

          1. postmanpat

            But what’s the point of being a police if you cant order and shove people around? It is the only reason people become guards in the first place. They have no charisma to influence people outside of the guards , but they know when they get a badge, people kind off have to do as they say. It is the closest thing they will get to being respected. They have no friends outside the job and family cant stand them.

          2. Anne

            “I’m more annoyed with the general trend of people using video + unproveable conclusions as an absolute source of evidence.”

            I’m sure some of the cops in the U.S. agree with you there.

          1. Neilo

            @postman pat: you should CC your thoughts to the Golden, Morrissey, McCabe and Donohoe families. I’m certain they’ll appreciate the kindness.

        3. george

          The man is standing still with his hands by his sides when pepper sprayed. He could have arrested the man without pepper spray. He called a van anyway to take the guy away so could have just called the van and waited. It was not necessary to use pepper spray at this point.

        4. Brian

          Ah get real the man didn’t lunge at the garda the garda had the spray out in advance why didn’t the garda just cycle by the man was doing nothing wrong even if he was asking for odds so what wouldn’t you if you just spent the night getting pissed on with rain freezing cold weather another day of the same stuff depressed as fupp having nothing to get up for and nobody to turn to the garda could have been a bit more compassionate I was homeless for quite some time and only for the kind help of at times complete stranger’s I wouldn’t be we’re I am today it

      2. scottser

        the gardai got pepper spray round the same time as referees got that foam spray for free kicks.
        coincidence? i think not
        *puts on tin foil hat

    2. ahjayzis

      You know the guards don’t have the right to attack whoever they like for not doing everything they say in a public street right? What if he’d asked the guy to dance and he refused to comply? Baton time?

      Spray is for self-defence, NOT coercion / summary punishment.

    1. Shane

      Not really. There’s the section 8 public order offence for not complying with the direction of a garda.

      So a garda says “move your arse” and you don’t, then you can get a free trip in a paddy wagon

      1. Nessy

        Bad jokes aside I don’t think the Gardai are really trained on how to use pepper spray and I don’t think that the homeless man in this video or previous videos deserved pepper spraying

          1. Casey

            How sage you all are. Should have known tastelessness like this would be forth-cumin. I know this will not be a big dill to some people but chive been waiting so long for decency on this site. If you cannot see the problem here, you must be parsley sighted

  4. Murtles

    Ah yes another nicely cropped video that doesn’t show what happened before filming started, we can’t hear what the conversation is between the two involved and we don’t see what happens after. Time to break out my new conclusion jumping shoes.

    1. Avon Barksdale

      homeless guy: any chance you could pepper spray me in the face?
      Gard: hmmmm seems a bit excessive…
      homeless guy: please I implore you
      Gard: to serve and protect…*unleashes fury*

      1. Murtles

        Because we don’t have audio or see what led to the incident, who’s to say the man wasn’t off his rocker and making death threats. I can’t see his hands, so who’s to say he didn’t pull a knife or a syringe. I don’t think Gardai these days are cycling along bored off their heads and say to themselves, there’s a helpless homeless lad, d’ya know what it’ll be great craic if I pepper spray him for no reason. But as I said since I don’t know, maybe the Guard is on meth or something, who’s to say from that clip. It’s 50/50

        1. Anne

          Yeah, maybe the guard at that nama auction was on meth when he was battering that elderly man with his baton.

          It couldn’t just be thuggery and bad/no training no?

  5. 15 cents

    i was walking home from work yesterday, down aungier street, i could see objects being thrown from a laneway at passing cyclists and pedestrians. as i was passing, there were teenagers in the lane doing the throwing. they were typical pack mentality cowards, they didnt hit me with anything coz im pretty big and intimidating looking, but as i passed i stopped to look back, and they were confronting two (possibly) spanish guys who had stood up to them for throwing stuff. i was making my way back when i saw to my side, a guard on a bike heading in the same direction. i had just been thinking you never see guards around when u need them.. and then he spotted what was goin in .. no joke .. stopped .. and turned off right and cycled away from the situation. theyre a spent force the guards .. on most part, lazy bullies.

      1. 15 cents

        if you must pry .. i must i must! (blazing saddles) .. im 6’5, 17stone, and im an old school heavy metal head.

  6. Brendan

    So does the person who posted this article have any information on the context or conversation that transpired between the two prior to filming?

    Personally, I like to see all the evidence before posting potentially damaging videos online.

    1. Steve Jobs

      I walk down that lane every morning on my way to work.

      Each morning that homeless guy is always there, never once had an issue or seen him engage in any sort of anti-social behavior.

    2. KTLy

      Yea lots of information. What kind would you like? The homeless guy sleeps there a lot, he’s grand-no hassle (even to local businesses as he is conscientious with regards to business hours or whatever). What I saw (and I was there) was an unwarranted attack on a person who makes every effort to stay out of trouble and is clearly down on his luck. Hope the same thing never happens you.

  7. Clampers Outside!

    If the Garda was being verbally abused while walking away, whether you like it or not, that Garda has the right to come back for you, and if your tone hasn’t changed and is still aggressive, that’s what a pepper spray is for.

    No on can hear what was said, no one can truly judge this situation.

    I’m also with Murtlkes in that no one knows the full story due to the video start and end times not capturing everything… my tuppence.

    * places outrage kicking boots back in the closet *

    1. ahyeah

      come on…you’re saying a Guard has the right to pepper spray someone if he doesn’t like their tone?! A Guard has no right or duty to punish – that’s for the Courts.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            Spitting is classed as “an assault”.

            Had some scobe gob up when I let rip on him for trying to sell me a stolen bike. I said to him… I know you, you live local, gob on me and I’ll have you for assault, you know spitting is classed as assault, do you? !

            He duly swallowed his own produce and went his way.

            ( me heart was racing like fupp after :) He was half my age, but twice my size :) )

          2. ahyeah

            Sorry but there’s no evidence or indication that the guy spat at the Guard. And thankfully, it’s simply not true that a Guard can use pepper spray if he objects to your tone of voice or even if you’re being verbally abusive. Pepper spray can only be used against a person who is actively resisting – same as an impact weapon aimed at the large muscles in the leg or upper arm [can’t be directed at a joint, but I’ve seen it happen in Dublin].

            “Actively resisting” can be anything from running away to holding hands and arms forcefully in front of yourself, pulling away, or obstructing a Guard who’s trying to place handcuffs on you.

            An impolite tone or telling a Guard to fupp off might get you into bother – but it absolutely doesn’t (or shouldn’t) place you at risk of being pepper sprayed. Sorry but that’s it. It doesn’t matter what (if anything) this guy said to this Guard. He clearly was not actively resisting, so the Guard had no need or right to use the spray.

    2. Shane

      Both right and wrong. Gardaí can use pepper spray whenever they want so long as they believe that it is “reasonable in the circumstances”, so unless a Garda believes that she is being unreasonable then she can use it.

      Whether the threshold for use should be so low is a reasonable topic of debate.

      Furthermore there is a obligation upon the Garda to be proportionate to the alleged offence and to exercise restraint.

      Pepper spraying someone because you thought they a cheeky tone wouldn’t be sufficient, you’d have to say they were disrupting public order, say by cursing.

      On an aside, there’s a lot of forms that have to be filled in once you pepper spray and arrest someone, so if you didn’t want to spend your day cycling around in the cold, doing something Luke this would definitely get you into a warm office to be drinking tay until the end of your shift

      1. Lordblessusandsaveus

        “you’d have to say they were disrupting public order, say by cursing. ”

        You’re talking through your hoop Shane.

          1. cian

            or even Section 6:
            6.—(1) It shall be an offence for any person in a public place to use or engage in any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or being reckless as to whether a breach of the peace may be occasioned.
            (2) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both.


    3. KTLy

      “if your tone hasn’t changed and is still aggressive, that’s what a pepper spray is for”

      sad times we live in.

  8. Disasata

    Looks to me like the lad is terrified and doesn’t know what to do, looks like the Garda is in full control. Seems like an overreaction.

  9. Anomanomanom

    This is not a surprise, iv stated here before the problems with the garda, especially in Dublin. As unbelievable as it sounds my friend and I were actually mugged, yes Mugged, by two garda in full uniform. We got no warning, nothing. Just got stopped and had our bags taking of us and everything in them. When I went kevin street station I was told there was no report of any garda bringing in two confiscated bags. That was 5 years ago and I’m still waiting to hear back. Oh and only recently after my bike was robbed kevin street station asked me and I quote “Can you not sort this your self”.

    1. 15 cents

      agreed 100% .. i told another tale of lazy guards further up in the thread, and ive a few more. and thats just one persons expereinces! they are abosolute clowns. lazy bullies.

      1. george

        How many times has a story of someone reporting a crime been met with “there’s nothing we can do” or “you’ll have to report that at another station a few kilometers away”. They love that second one because it allows them to pass the book. There is no investigation at all of the vast majority of crimes. I’ve also seen Gardaí on the street walk past crimes in progress several times.

  10. Charger Salmons

    Sounds like the hobo got his just desserts.
    Me.I’m fed up of these layabouts sponging of the state when they’re perfectly fit and able to go and get a job and a roof over their head.
    I’ve no doubt the dosser thought he was being smart giving the poor cop a load of grief.
    I hope he got a good ” talking-to ” when he was back at the cop station.
    That’ll soften his cough.

    1. scottser

      hobo? yeah, all that riding the rails for free really gets my goat. and the stink of mulligan’s stew, and all them old-timey blues tunes – they’re a bloody nuisance.

    1. Neilo

      I get that now. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of them are dicks but I’m one too, so we’re well-matched.

      1. Mikeyfex

        It seems right to extrapolate from what I’ve seen here and come to that conclusion, Neilo. It feels suitable.

  11. pete

    There’s no sound and it’s a partial video of a situation.
    on this resounding video evidence and not one to jump to conclusions, I think the below is most likely what was said:
    “ohh, pepper spray, I hear it’s this seasons must have scent, can I try some on?”
    “Sure thing, it combines the freshness of pepper, water and grapefruit extracts, with spicy notes and an exotic aroma”
    “ohhh, that sounds delightful young sir, go ahead”
    “Sorry good fellow, I missed your neck. I’m known to be somewhat of a clutz! I’ll call my friends and we can hug it out in the van”

  12. Austin

    Maybe one or two of the commentators on here should try to imagine being in that chaps shoes, dealing with homelessness firstly, finding a place to sleep that is halfway safe, getting asleep only to be woken by a Guard who wants you to move on immediately, just think how hard it is to get up and get going immediately from your warm bed and then try to imagine the same from a cold slab and a sleeping bag. It doesn’t look like the chap even has shoes on for God’s sake, he was NO threat, assistance was on the way, there was no need for pepper spray….unless ego or the chip on the shoulder got in the way. It appears that this chap sleeps there regularly according to some commentators and does not cause any problems.. a little compassion would go a long way.

  13. Lilly

    What kind of dick head pepper sprays a homeless guy. Transfer him to Manorhamilton please this instant.

Comments are closed.