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Police officer convicted of aggravated assault, breach of duty

Security video of the cell shows officers restraining an intoxicated man who needed to be resuscitated after the struggle.

The district court in the Päijät-Häme region of Finland has handed down a 16-month suspended prison sentence to a senior police constable for aggravated assault and breach of duty.

The court ruled that the officer used unnecessary and excessive force when detaining a handcuffed prisoner.

The incident that led to the verdict took place in the cells of Lahti police station in February 2019 when police brought an intoxicated man to the station from a city restaurant.

The man began resisting officers, which led to him being physically restrained and put into hand and foot cuffs. He suffered bruises, a fracture to his nose and was bleeding during the incident, and also lapsed into unconsciousness due to a lack of oxygen and had to be resuscitated.

In its verdict, the court said evidence showed that the constable leaned on the upper back of the detainee with his knees, and obstructed his breathing.

Two police guards acquitted

Two guards working at the Lahti police station were also on trial on suspicion of aggravated assault, but their charges were dismissed by the court as their actions were not considered to be excessive and did not prevent the detainee from breathing.

At the trial, all three defendants denied the charges or that they had caused the injuries described in the case.

A video of the incident can be viewed at the top of this story, which has been edited to blur the faces of those involved.

The police and the state were ordered to pay the plaintiff 3,000 euros in compensation for suffering caused. The verdict is not yet final, leaving room for an appeal.

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