Dad Tasered by cops at petrol station in front of child to sue GMP — after watchdog says officers won’t be disciplined
A dad who was Tasered by cops on a petrol station forecourt in front of his screaming child is to sue Greater Manchester Police.
Solicitors acting for NHS worker, Ziggy Desmond Mombeyarara, said today (Thursday) he intends to sue Chief Constable Stephen Watson for damages ‘in relation to excessive use of force’.
The legal move comes less than a week after it was announced two officers won’t face disciplinary action over the incident.
Footage that captured the moment Mr Mombeyarara was detained by police was shared widely online.
He was taken down by a cop with a Taser stun gun on a petrol station forecourt on Chester Road in Stretford after being clocked doing 72mph in a 30mph zone on May 6 last year.
Mr Mombeyarara, 35, went on trial at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court in April and was handed an 18-month conditional discharge after being found guilty of obstructing two police officers — PCs Stephen Bielizna and Anthony Hannan.
On Friday last week, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) revealed the result of its investigation into the incident and the use of the stun gun.
The watchdog concluded the officers’ actions were in line with police policies and should not face disciplinary action.
Chief Constable Watson backed his cops for acting ‘professionally’ and said ‘they deserve our respect and support’.
The PCs said they believed they faced the threat of violence and ‘acted accordingly’, according to the watchdog.
The IOPC also said it had uncovered no evidence Mr Mombeyarara’s ethnicity was a factor in the incidents.
Mr Mombeyarara, who was with his son, was Tasered during the incident by PC Hannan.
The officers suspected he was intoxicated, but he did not comply when the cops tried to breathalyse him, the trial heard.
The incident ‘escalated’ when the PCs tried to arrest him.
In a statement issued today by Scott-Moncrieff and Associates Limited of London, solicitors acting for Mr Mombeyarara, said: “Last week the IOPC released their investigation report in respect of the use, by Greater Manchester police officers, of a taser on Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara on 6 May 2020.
“The IOPC has reached the conclusion that taser use, in this case, was appropriate. We are of the firm opinion that the extremely disturbing use of a taser on Mr Mombeyarara, as seen in the video that went viral, was unnecessary, inappropriate and therefore a disproportionate use of force.
“We share Mr Mombeyarara’s disappointment concerning the general conclusions reached by the IOPC. We disagree with the IOPC that in this particular case it was appropriate to use a taser as opposed to conventional physical restraint techniques.
“It is ultimately for the court to determine whether the police use of force was proportionate in this case. Therefore, Mr Mombeyarara intends to bring a damages claim against the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester police in relation to the excessive use of force.”
During the trial, prosecutors said the officers repeatedly tried to conduct a roadside breath test, but Mr Mombeyarara refused, keeping his arms folded and making ‘no real attempt’ to cooperate.
As PC Anthony Hannan went to arrest him a ‘scuffle’ broke out, resulting in the Taser being withdrawn.
Mr Mombeyarara ignored the requests to put his hands behind his back and walked round to the other side of his car, removed his screaming child and held him as he pushed back on PC Bielizna, the court heard.
He eventually let go of the lad — shortly before being Tasered by PC Hannan, the court heard.
Mr Mombeyarara, from Trafford, initially entered not guilty pleas to two offences of obstructing a police officer, driving whilst unfit through alcohol; and a breach of the Covid lockdown rules.
He had already entered guilty pleas to offences of speeding and driving with no insurance.
After his arrest, Mr Mombeyarara provided a sample of breath, the lowest reading was 36 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.
He was found not guilty of driving whilst unfit through alcohol; and the breach of the Covid lockdown.
The IOPC said it obtained statements from the officers involved and an eyewitness and examined footage from the officers’ body-worn video, CCTV and social media.
A Taser expert was also asked to review the tactics used by police.
In a statement, the IOPC said last week: “The evidence did not suggest that an officer may have acted in a way that justified disciplinary proceedings or committed a criminal offence.
“However, our investigation highlighted several areas of learning for the force and the officers involved in the incident. These include improvements to the policies and training in place relating to the use of Taser.
“We also considered whether the complainant’s ethnicity influenced the way the incident was handled, including analysis of the officers’ previous use of force and complaints against them.
“We found no evidence to suggest the complainant’s ethnicity was a factor in the decision to use force against him.”
Following the IOPC announcement, Chf Con Watson said: “The officers did what I would expect of them in stopping the vehicle and they conducted themselves professionally and proportionately. They made decisions under what were clearly very difficult circumstances, they faced resistance from the driver involved, their response was measured and resulted in a successful conviction.
“The presence of an innocent child in this scenario is particularly regrettable, although this too is due to the actions of the offending motorist.”
GMP said the force had no further comment to add following the publication of the IOPC decision.