Northern Ireland’s police watchdog has launched a formal investigation into the death of a man who was sprayed with CS gas by police officers in Belfast.
Gerard McMahon died in the early hours of Thursday after an altercation with officers in Great Victoria Street. He was arrested after what the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said was a “violent incident” between himself and a number of taxi drivers in the city centre thoroughfare at about 5am.
The Police Ombudsman’s Office in Belfast, which is investigating McMahon’s death, said “it appeared that CS spray was used” during his arrest. It is investigating if McMahon, from the Short Strand area of east Belfast, had a heart attack after he was restrained and CS gas was sprayed on him by PSNI officers.
Police officers administered first aid to McMahon but he died at the scene close to Belfast’s Opera House theatre. Ch Supt Chris Noble said: “Police wish to pass on our condolences to the family of the deceased. We will fully cooperate with the police ombudsman’s inquiry and at this stage it would not be appropriate for the police service to comment further.” Read more