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Police Officer Who Punched Handcuffed Man Cleared After Internal Review

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Police Officer Who Punched Handcuffed Man Cleared After Internal Review

An Australian police officer who punched a suspect who spat at him during a violent arrest has been cleared after an internal review

Senior Constable Ben Higgins was seen punching a 22-year-old while he was wearing handcuffs. Public opinion was divided over whether he had gone too far.

In footage of the incident, Higgins can be seen punching Clarence Yates, who admitted spitting, but said he did not aim to hit the police officer.

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The case was handed over to be internally investigated after it caused public uproar, with a huge debate emerging around whether or not Yates should have been punched by someone in a position of power.

Yates had been charged with disorderly conduct after reportedly being seen making graffiti on a property, according to the Daily Mail.

He tried to resist arrest and the scuffle quickly turned violent, with Yates spitting at the officer. This seemed to prompt a knee-jerk response from Higgins, who then punches the man in the face.

The incident was filmed by Yates' cousin. The man can be heard shouting and taunting the officer, saying: "You're f***ed you dumb dog, you f***ing pig."

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Yates claimed he was 'roughed up' by the police.

Police commissioner Grant Stevens admitted that it wasn't usually protocol to punch anyone in the face when arresting them. However, he still cleared Higgins of any wrongdoing after the review.

In a statement, Stevens said: "A review of the arresting police officer's actions in this matter was undertaken; and as a result, there will be no further action taken against that officer.

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"As the original arrest proceedings are still before the courts - there is no further comment regarding this particular matter.

"Police officers regularly confront dangerous and often violent situations and they take their obligation to protect the community seriously.

Credit: Twitter/Lauren Rose
Credit: Twitter/Lauren Rose

"My officers should not tolerate being assaulted and I expect them to take reasonable action to protect themselves so they can go home unharmed to their families.

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"I fully support the professional way they deal with those in the community who think it's OK to threaten or assault police."

Although he won't face disciplinary action, Higgins could still face criminal charges.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Lauren Rose

Topics: crime, Australia

Amelia Ward
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