CORONAVIRUS police have been forced to apologise after a man who said he was dropping off food for vulnerable family members was threatened with pepper spray and arrested for breaching lockdown laws in a video that went viral.
Greater Manchester Police have since apologised to the man, who was later de-arrested and issued with a fixed penalty notice.
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Footage shows a plainclothes officer in a stab vest confronting a motorist in Fallowfield, Manchester, on Good Friday.
The man, who was reportedly running errands for his mum, protests he was only on the street because the officer beckoned him outside to ask about the tree.
He asks: “Give me a ticket for what. You’re bored, there’s groups of peoples all over the place.”
He refuses to give his name – and the officer says: “I’ll lock you up”.
In disbelief, the man asks: “Lock me up for what?”
The officer barks: “For breaking the Covid guidelines. Put your hands on your hands on your head, put your hands son your head!”
Stunned residents watch as the cop then threatens to pepper spray him unless he holds his hands behind his back to be cuffed.
Neighbours can be heard calling out, saying the arrest is “excessive” and the officer is “dying” to use his spray.
As he calls for backup, a female neighbour calmly asks the policeman whether “there’s more pressing situations to be dealing with”.
The cop tells the woman to move back and warns: “You’ll be next.”
A second plainclothes officer arrives on the scene, and the suspect pleads for them to loosen his cuffs as he is in pain.
He says: “You ain’t going to put me in the back of no car.
“I’m dropping food off to vulnerable members of my family who cant do nothing and I’m taking a tree home with me.”
Police have since issued a statement saying: “We are aware of footage circulating regarding an officer’s actions at an incident in Fallowfield in Manchester.
“Although the matter is being investigated fully by our professional standards branch, our initial review shows that the incident wasn’t dealt with in the professional way we would expect and we apologise for that.
“The public rightly expect the highest standards from our officers and we will investigate this matter thoroughly and properly.
“A senior member of the force is speaking to the man and his family today.
“We would ask that the public understand the stresses that our officers are working under at present and we hope this apology will be welcome to those involved.”
The video comes as police forces across the country face claims of heavy-handed responses to enforce social distancing guidelines.
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On Thurday South Yorkshire Police apologised after an officer was filmed telling a family they were not allowed in their own garden.
The force said the officer was “well intentioned but ill-informed”.
And Cambridge police admitted they were wrong after officers patrolled Tesco to check shoppers were not in the “non-essential aisles”.
Bosses blamed an “over exuberant officer” who tweeted about it and said the force was not routinely monitoring what people buy.
It comes after Northamptonshire’s chief constable was forced into a humiliating U-turn after threatening to snoop in shopping trolleys.
He was slapped down by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said such drastic measures were “not appropriate”.
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And Derbyshire police has come under fire for using a drone to publicly shame dog walkers in the Peak District.
Police have powers to fine people who are outside for no good reason, but cannot check their shopping.
Government guidelines say people can visit relatives to deliver food and medicine.
A South Yorkshire police officer was filmed telling a resident he couldn’t go in his front garden[/caption]
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